Saturday, July 28, 2012

Photography 101: Part 2

Photography 101: Part 2                                           Jen Kiaba

Alrighty, so here we are on Day Two!

If you remember that chart that I shared with you yesterday, the first term that it discussed was "Aperture"

Aperture refers to a lens diaphragm, which consists of several interconnected blades that can be adjusted to make bigger or smaller openings within the lens.
Sometime take a look at your camera and look straight into the lens while you are taking a picture. There will be a hole that the blades form in the middle of the lens. When you hold down your shutter button to take a picture it will contract quickly.
The size of the aperture opening is part of how you control how much light is let into your camera. So, for example, a tiny aperture opening only lets a small amount of light in, while a large aperture opening lets more light in.

Ok, so now I am going to get a teensy technical. This info isn't imperative to know, but my philosophy is the more you know how something works, the more you can know how to improve it. So, here we go!

The size of the aperture is adjusted in what are called f-stops. Those “stops” are represented by some peculiar numbers: f/2.8,f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16 and sometimes f/22. I’m pretty sure it was these numbers that made me want to run from the room screaming. But don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as complicated as it seems!

If you are a math whiz then you might recognize that these numbers form a logarithmic series. I for one am not a math whiz, so don’t even ask me what it is! You just need to remember two things for now:

1) The lower the number on the scale, the wider the lens opening.
So f/2.8 means that the opening in your lens is at its very biggest. Conversely, f/22 is the tiniest opening in your lens. It may not make any sense but I promise you that this is the way it works!

2) Going up the scale (from a low number to a high one), each stop lets through only half as much light as the one before it.

By the same token, going down the scale (from a high number to a low one) each stop lets in twice as the stop before it. In other words, an aperture of f/4 lets in half as much light as f/2.8 because it forms a smaller opening. An aperture of f/8 lets in twice as much light as f/11 because it represents a larger opening.

Did your eyes just cross a little bit?? ;-)         

So why do you need to know about aperture? Take a look a the below image from

Aperture comparison

Knowing how to use your aperture to pull the viewer's focus can be a powerful tool! If you want them to notice a particular detail or texture, then shooting “wide open” like in the picture labeled f1.4 is the way to go!

Today, spend a little time looking at these kisses (yummy!) and thinking about which image is the most compelling to you. Remember, f1.4 has the widest opening, while f10 is the smaller opening in this comparison. Which aperture do you think you would prefer to  use when you do your next product photoshoot and why?

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