May 4, 2011

#18 - Get more light from aperture.

Here’s a neat trick.

Turn on your camera, pop your settings to “P’ and change your aperture (you might have to dive into your manual for a second or two for instructions). Switch that number up to the highest one you can f5.6, f8, f11…

Now turn your camera over and look down the barrel of your lens. You’ll see a hole and it’s probably pretty small. Turn your camera back over and switch your aperture settings to the lowest number possible – like f2.8.  Now look at the hole – it should be crazy big by now.

If shutter speed determines how long the shutter stays open, aperture determines how big the hole is through which light can get to your camera. Bigger number means smaller hole – and less light. Smaller number, bigger hole – more light.

Like just about anything in photography, making a change with your aperture affects something else. In this case, it’s blurring of objects in the background. We’ll get into that during another post. For now, just know that a lower number in your aperture (2.8) creates more blurring in the background – an effect you may want to make your picture.
When you combine it with ISO and shutter speed, you can take a whole lot of control over your camera. You can decide how you want your pictures look, what went wrong and how to fix some of the most common problems.

When to use a smaller aperture (higher number like f11, f16…)
·      Bright light.
·      Shooting landscapes.
·      Anytime you want everything in sharp focus.

When to use a bigger aperture (smaller number like f1.4, f2.8...)
·      Not a lot of light.
·      Can’t adjust ISO or shutter speed.
·      Cool effects with background blurring (aka “depth of field”)

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