Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday Word of the day! Aperture

Aperture is measured and set in F-stops. When you purchased a lens you probably thought what the heck does the 1.8 in the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 description mean? That is your MAX aperture. Now I told you this was confusing, and you might be saying MAX aperture, MAX means BIG, that doesn’t sound like the MAX, that's like the lowest number ever! Remember all of the fStop stuff from last week?

Now there are a couple of factors to keep in mind, when playing with your Aperture.

1. Keep your subjects on the same plane. Your Depth Of Field will vary greatly based on how close or far your subject is to the background and/or other subjects in the photo. Keeping your subjects on the same plane, gives you a better chance of getting multiple subjects in your focus area with little numbers. Especially with a MAX aperture, you are more likely to get someone out of focus unless everyone is sitting next to each other.

You can see that the by moving the subjects backward and away from your main point of focus, even at the same aperture, changes your DOF. Imagine you have your subject sitting in a garden. The surrounding flowers would become more and more blurred as you move your subject closer to you and further from the garden. Get closer to your subject and your subject further from the background for optimal blur.

Helpful Tip: Change your Aperture number to match the number of subjects in your photo. 1 person, have at it and play with everything you’ve got. 3 people (try to keep them on the same plane!), start out at f/3.2, 5 people, f/5.0 and so on. This little tip can help you keep all your subjects in focus while still playing with your DOF.

2. Changing your Aperture effects light.

When you make changes to your aperture, you will need to compensate with changes to your shutter speed and or ISO. You will hear many people say, “I love that lens for low-light situations”. Those lenses have little numbers as their MAX aperture, which means…all together now, more light gets in there and these lenses let you keep lower ISO’s and faster shutter speeds in low conditions because the MAX aperture compensates for some additional light.

3. Every lens has a sweet spot. Although I like small #s for creamy backgrounds, I found that each of my lenses has an aperture setting that just, well ROCKS! Example…my 50mm 1.4 stops down to a MAX aperture of 1.4. When I put that bad boy on my camera I thought, I will never shoot with a “bigger” number, I am sticking with 1.4 all the way. We’ll I prefer my eyes sharp as tacks! So I practiced and played and then it happened. I shot a session at f/2.8 and I haven’t gone back since!

Go play! Share some tips an tricks!

Information taken from Prop Insanity

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