A short time after kid number 2, I got a “big girl camera” and began re-learning photography. My learning approach was to shoot tons and tons of pictures—many of them pretty bad—and learn as I took photos. I would get a good one in the middle of thousands of bad ones. Eventually, I would get a handful of good ones in a few hundred takes.
Many friends and Instagram followers have asked me how I take my photographs. Today I’m sharing all the things I’ve learned about photography. This perspective is not from a professional, but rather from a humble and whimsical perspective of someone who didn’t even know what an aperture was when she got her first camera. After all, photography is supposed to be F-U-N, amirite?!!
Want unbelievable pictures of your own for your blog or Instagram feed?
To get a perfectly exposed picture, three things need to occur for perfect exposure: aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Do you feel like these are terms thrown around and you may nod your head but really in your heart, you are saying, “What the? I still don’t get it!!”
Well, don’t sweat it my friend! Today I will explain what aperture is in verrrrrry easy terms. Hopefully you will leave here today with more confidence to pursue a strong foundation in photography which then will give you the boss pics you want to show the world!
All About Aperture
So, aperture. Think of the eye in the camera or the hole that lets in the light. When you set the aperture on your camera, the number or F-stop will adjust the size of the “eye” or hole which lets light into your camera.
In order to achieve perfect exposure, you are looking for a balance of aperture, ISO and shutter speed for what you are shooting. And to add to all of this, depth of field plays a large part in aperture.
Wait, whoa, what Anita? I hear you, don’t panic. I’ll explain. All of these things play a HUGE role in FOCUS. I struggled so much in getting my pics in focus for the longest time because I was just plain confused about aperture and depth of field. So why don’t we start with that today?
The closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower your depth of field becomes. Photos with shallow depth of field typically have the item closes to the camera in focus and the rest of the image is out of focus. If an image has a larger depth of field, more of the image will be in focus.
See how the beautiful cutting board with farm fresh veggies are in focus but my arms and hands are not? This image has a shallow depth of field. To achieve this look, my F-stop was set at a small number, meaning that the background of the image is not in focus.
Still don’t get it? It’s ok! Read on…I promise, you will understand soon.
The f-stop number can be confusing. The large the aperture opening, the smaller the f-stop number.
If it’s a gray day and your living room looks like the dungeon of doom, no fear! You want to open up the aperture as large and wide as you can. That means the f-stop number should be as low as your camera can go.
If it is a close up shot of flowers in a vase, you can get away with aperture as low as 2.8 or 3.6. Mind you, depth of field will be affected. Depth of field is how much is in focus as you let in or close off light. So here is the tricky part. How much do I let in light for the picture to even happen and THEN next question, will the parts of the image or scene that I want be in focus for me?
Here, you can see where the large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field
Can you see that the small blue planter is the focus and the beads in the back are blurry. That is because I had a lot of light so I did not need to open up my lens very wide. Also, I wanted a close up shot so I knew my aperture number could be very small to create a small depth of field.
Now take a look at this picture where the Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field.
Again, I had enough light so I did not feel the need to widen my lens too much. However, I did want everything I saw in my camera square to be in focus. So I bumped up my aperture number which meant lower light but bigger depth of field. From there, I had to play with what combination gave me the perfect shot. Practice is progress, right?
Need more explainin’? Digital Photography School is a great resource to help you understand depth of field and aperture.
So, what do you think? Ready to get your camera out and start practicing? Today is just the beginning of my series on upping your photography game. Pretty soon you will be posting amaze balls pictures on your blog and IG and people will not believe it was you!!
And the best part? It WAS you!!
Pop quiz! (Did you panic like you were back in 7th grade Mr. Mcgregor’s math class?)
Here are two more examples and you tell me what I did to achieve the picture to be in focus or not. Promise, A+ for effort!
Let me know if you have any questions or want to learn more about taking the perfectly exposed picture. I am here to help!
Now back to my camera and tripod. Its shootin’ time. 🙂