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Tip No 2 - Take your camera off auto - Aperture Priority
22 replies to this topic
Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:57 AM
I think the first step to understanding your camera more is to use some of the semi auto modes and get a full understanding of both Aperture and Shutter Speeds and their creative use before going across to manual mode.
So, let’s look at aperture.
In photography, aperture is the hole or opening through which the light is emitted. It is used to control the depth of field or the amount of the photo in focus. It is also used to control the exposure together with shutter speed and iso but we will just look at today just from the DOF (depth of Field) point of view.
The aperture is the F numbers you see on your camera. When you choose a small F number (like 2.8) you are choosing a wider aperture or letting in more light as the hole is bigger. A smaller F number gives a smaller depth of field or amount of the photo in focus while a larger f number like f22 gives lets in less light and gives a much greater dof.
To work out what would be in focus in a photo would depend on what F stop you have chosen. Here is a link to an online dof table http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html As you can see, your DOF depends on how far away from your subject (and also the lens you're using - this table is based on the 50mm on a crop format camera - 400D, 450D, D80 etc etc)
So, what does this mean? Basically if you are wanting to take a picture of your child with a nice blurry background you will want to chose a small F stop number (what is referred to as a wide aperture). Generally for portrait work with individual people this is often between f2.8 and F4. Of course when you have got your focussing down pat and if your lens allows, you can open up wider (to 1.2 - 1.8) but your focus plain will be even smaller. Also remember that generally when you focus the depth of field is approximately 1/3 in front of that point and 2/3 behind the focal point.
You will also want your subject a couple of metres or more from the background to have a nice blurry background. The quality of the background blur (or area out of focus) is referred to as Bokeh. Better quality lens will give you better quality Bokeh.
Also look for distracting elements that may be at the same focal plane as your subject as these items will also be in sharp focus and may be distracting, unless you are doing a more environmental portrait and then a strategically place branch (or something) in the same focal plane as the subject can add a 3 dimensional feel to the image.
Okay so enough rambling, here's my suggestion to help you take your first photos not using auto.
1. Find your camera manual and work out how to put your camera on aperture priority. Also look at how to change your aperture (which dial to turn) and where on your camera the F stops show.
2. Set you camera on Aperture Priority Mode and choose a F stop of 2.8 or the smallest number you can on your lens (kit lens is 3.5 from memory).
3. Find your subject and position them a few metres from the background (just make sure that there's not a tree coming out of the top of their head or something like that). Take the photo from the same level as them if you’re taking a picture of a child rather than from above them pointing down (unless that's the look you’re particularly going for).
4. Now take the same picture using f 5.6 f8, f11, f16 and f20 for comparison later. You will notice that the amount of in focus area increases with the larger F stop numbers (stopping down)
5. Now move your subject closer to the background and take the series of photos again
6. Now move them further away and again take the series of photos.
Hopefully you'll have a better understanding of aperture and its relationship with DOF when you upload and study the photos.
Things to note
- Because you are in aperture priority your camera will choose your shutter speed. Make sure you are taking your photos where there is lots of light otherwise the shutter speed may drop too low and your photos will end up blurry.
Happy to answer questions here or on my blog
Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:54 AM
YEAH poodle! I was waiting for your next tut - lucky for me you are showing us the the exact thing I wanted to learn.
Looking forward to having a little play.
Thanks poodle your a star!
Posted 21 September 2008 - 01:56 PM
Yay...Another one here that was waiting for the next tut, job well done once again.
Posted 23 September 2008 - 01:29 PM
Thanks for the tip I must have read that somewhere because it was the first thing I did when I got the camera
Posted 23 September 2008 - 02:02 PM
Thanks Poodle! Your tips are fantastic and so easy to follow!
Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:03 PM
Thanks for the tips and for taking the time to share them with us. I'm still trying to convince DH to let me purchase a DSLR so I am saving all of your tutorials for that day
Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:25 PM
Wow! How wonderful is this tutorial!! Thanks so much!
I think i have just found a new thread/series of threads? to stalk! I am still getting the hang of my 450D so this kind of info is wonderful!
Posted 14 March 2009 - 06:46 PM
Thanks for that, I just read and did what you instructed but cant get it!
We just went out and spent $950 on a Macro lense, and i cant do what i want with it.
Posted 14 March 2009 - 06:50 PM
Thanks....Im a beginner and i find your tips excellent and easy to understnad Greatly appreciated
Posted 14 March 2009 - 09:16 PM
wow, i understood that, and to think a mth a go i wouldnt have
Posted 15 March 2009 - 12:38 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write out that tutorial it is greatly appreciated and now have a mini task to complete this afternoon
Your a legend!
Posted 15 March 2009 - 01:21 PM
Thanks heaps for this Poodle. I was about to go and buy a book on photography for dummies, but I might just wait for your tips. I can't find your tip No. 1 though but maybe I'm not going back far enough.
I've just had a play. Can anyone tell me though why my camera is choosing my aperture? I've got a Canon AS10 IS and used the Av mode. It wouldn't let me take it down any further than f4.0 for some shots but I wanted to try taking it lower. For other shots, I could use f2.8 but did nothing different. TIA
Posted 15 March 2009 - 01:39 PM
Kazzil, it may be to do with your zoom. Some lenses have different appertures at different levels of zoom
Posted 15 March 2009 - 02:13 PM
Bec, Can you please give some more info? I don't really know what's going wrong to help.
Kazzil, Tip 1 was on catchlights. It's on my blog too. I just googled Canon AS10 but couldn't find anything. I did find an A510? I'm not too sure why you aren't able to get down lower than 4. According to the manual you should be able to go down to 2.6. There isn't a lot but refer to page 79 of your manual. TBH, I don't know how sucessful a small compact goes in manual setting. It would depend on how far from the background was from your subject. If you have a willing person (or for that matter doll/object), try placing it at differing distances from the background and taking photos at F2.6, F4, F8 etc and you'll start to get an understanding of how Depth of Field works. If your subject was far enough from the background the background blur may not be any different at f2.8 or f4 but if you look more closely at the face you should see that more of the face (ears etc) are in focus than at f2.8.
On another matter.... Are people wanting me to keep going with the tips? Last time by the time I did the third one no one seemed interested. I don't mind but don't really want to be wasting my time iykwim.
Posted 15 March 2009 - 06:06 PM
I have a Nikon D60... we bought a 18mm-300mm lense, but ended up taking it back to get the 17-50mm 2.8.
I have set my camera On Aperture priority, and am trying to get the blurred look in the background with no such luck.. anytips?/\
Posted 15 March 2009 - 06:49 PM
Sorry Poodle. It is an SX not AS as in SX10 IS. Sometimes I'm getting the aperture to go down to f2.8, but sometimes not. I just played with the zoom and it didn't seem to make a difference?
Poodle, personally I'd love to see your tips I'll have a look on your blog.
Posted 15 March 2009 - 08:18 PM
Thanks for that great information - it is so easy to understand. I would love to read you other tips - going to search for them now!
Posted 15 March 2009 - 08:30 PM
Poodle - I've found this info very helpful, so thank you very much. It would be great if you could post some more tips .
Posted 15 March 2009 - 09:45 PM
Hi, I just thought I'd add that the tip is great - but I too can't find the older one and can't seem to find it on your blog (I am pretty tired tho!) Can you post a link?
Posted 15 March 2009 - 09:50 PM
Hi Poodle, please continue posting more "tips" as I've found your info. are very easily to understand. I've been lurking in this thread for a long time (over 4 months) but havent post anything yet. Keep up the great work. Thanks.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:22 AM
I have popped categories on my blog now so if you look at the left hand margin you'll see photography tips. This tip also has a diagram on there so that might be handy.
Bec, besides turning the dial to Aperture priority, what have you set your Aperture too? You might need to look up your manual to see how to change your aperture. I don't have a Nikon so I really can't help with that. If you set it at 2.8 you should be able to get some nice background blur.
Kazill, check out page 101 of your manual. You'll see there is a relationship between the aperture and your optical zoom function. When you're on wide angle you can open up to 2.8 but fully zoomed in your widest aperture is 5.7. I didn't click earlier that you were changing your zoom but the DOF relationship is different for telephoto v wide angle. For eg. Using the DOF calculator in the first post if you shoot at F4 with your subject 2 metres from you, the area in focus would be as follows (I used the 40D in the calculator)
28mm 89 cm
50mm 13 cm
100mm 6 cm
200mm 2 cm
So if you have been changing your zoom, this is why you photos may be looking the same.
I have a self imposed ban on EB during the week as I work full time so my apologies in advance if I don't pop back until next week.
Some future tips I'm thinking about are
- Shutter priority (help understand shutter speed)
- What is ISO
- Metering Modes
- Going full manual.
Have a good week all
Posted 16 March 2009 - 09:18 AM
Thanks heaps for that info Poodle. I'll have a better read of my manual.
- Shutter priority (help understand shutter speed)
- What is ISO
- Metering Modes
- Going full manual.
Sounds perfect to me!!!
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