Firstly I want to thank everyone for the enthusiasm about my photography tips column! I’m half surprised you understood anything I said because I was kind of rambling, but that’s good that you seemed to! Haha!
Okay, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do for this one because when I thought of the photography tips idea I really only had one idea in my head: the last post I did. I had a think about it and tried to think of things that I remember learning when I was first really getting into SLR photography – so I’ve decided to talk about aperture and depth of field.
I know some of you reading this will know all about it and that’s cool, but if there are a few people out there that don’t then I think this might be a revolutionary post for you, haha!
I used to look at pictures where a wide aperture was used and think ‘they’re great photos’ but I’d never know why, then one day I realised that I liked them because the background was blurry – that’s when I began my love of aperture.
To be honest, I know about zilch about the technicalities of photography. I know how to use all the buttons on a camera, but I don’t know anything about what’s going on inside the camera (I guess that’s what you get for being self taught! Actually when I think about it, I’ve never done a proper photography class in my life...)
But what I can tell you, is how it works to change how your photo looks.
So when talking about aperture you have wide aperture or narrow aperture. Funnily enough, a wide aperture is the smaller number and narrow aperture is the bigger number. I’ll try to think of a way you can remember that because it took me about a year. Some people refer to it as large and small aperture, but that just makes it even more confusing. So let’s go with wide and narrow. Actually I remember that when I'm talking to people I often refer to it as wide aperture and 'big number' aperture. Smart, eh? But we'll stay with wide and narrow to try and get you to memerize it!
(Note: when speaking of aperture in numbers, you use an f which means something to do with ‘focal’. E.g. f2.8)
What aperture does is determine the amount of light that is let in when your shutter opens. Wide aperture lets in more light than narrow aperture. What it also does is change the depth of field or depth of focus (same thing, different name).
I’ll use photos to explain depth of field, because it’s just easier that way.
So that’s pretty much what I’m going to talk about – depth of field! It is a very, very handy thing and for those who aren’t particularly photographically knowledgeable, a depth of field where the background is out more out of focus will instantly be a better photo! (In saying that, for someone who knows loads about photography will probably go ‘er, she’s just using a wide aperture to look good’ but who cares!)
I hope I’m making sense here!
- I probably consider everything from f1.4 to f5.6 to be of wide aperture. Lenses have a limit on the wideness that they can go. I have one lense that can go down to f1.4 and one that can only go to f5.6. A narrow aperture is anywhere from f6.3 to f22, but you probably don’t go above f10 unless you’re doing something crazy!