Category Archives: aperture

depth of field

Do you see where the focus point is on this picture below? It’s on her eyes. And it’s pretty sharp…not crystal clear…because I was using my 85mm 1.2 lens. I LOVE my 85mm lens. It’s probably my favorite lens … but it’s not as fast as my other lenses. So if a child moves on me I can’t always capture them super sharp. Anyways, that’s a side note. My point is to show you the focus point and the depth of field in this photo. The focus point is on her eyes. Now think of geometry… like math in high school… Do you remember “planes” in geometry? The planes in space that had to do with depth of field? Well, this little girl’s eyes and the part of the fence that she is holding onto are on the same plane. They are both the same distance away from me and my lens. Because they are on the same plane they are both in focus. My aperture is set at F 2.8 and I’m shooting with my 85mm lens which means that I will get some lovely blurriness (bokeh) behind that focus point as well as in front of that focus point. All of the things that are not on the same plane as my focus point will not be sharp and in focus. See the fence in front of her? And the fence behind her as well? Make sense? A little bit?  If not, keep reading and practicing. It’ll sink in. :)

My manual settings on the image below:

ISO – 200
aperture – F 2.8
shutter speed – 1/250 second
lens – 85mm 1.2

perspective and aperture

I love this picture of my little guy. Captures his silly personality in one of his mellower moods. My perspective is that my camera is almost resting on the table, so I’m looking straight into my little guy’s eyes, but coming in a bit from below him. Love how the table in front of him is out of focus. Fun, huh? :)  That’s a result of my 2.2 aperture.

manual settings for the shot below:
ISO – 1250 (inside, in the evening, under just the lights from above the kitchen table)
aperture – F 2.2 (needed light and i wanted the blur factor)
shutter – 1/160 (slow, but not too slow that my wiggly guy is out of focus)
lens – 50mm 1.2L
camera – canon 5D mark II

Then I change my perspective and look down on my other little guy from above. I wanted to tell the whole story of how this little guy plays. He loves bananagrams. :)

manual settings for the shot below:
ISO – 1250 (inside still, same table, same lighting)
aperture – F 2.5 (needed light but not quite as much as the light was reflecting off the table a bit)
shutter – 1/160 (slow, but not too slow)
lens – 50mm 1.2L
camera – canon 5D mark II

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 25

DAY #25!

TIP #25: Set your aperture based on the number of people you’re photographing.

Again, your aperture is the hole or opening in your lens that lets in light. The size of the opening determines how much light comes into your camera as well as how sharp or blurry the background is going to be in your image. But…aperture can be tricky and you shouldn’t just keep it at F 1.8 or F 2.8 all the time. The number of people you’re photographing makes a difference. Unless you’re doing something creative you probably want all of the people in your image to be in focus. If you’re shooting pictures of a large group of people and you have your aperture set at F 1.8 they may not all be in focus. I have a few recommendations for that. Just some tips that have worked for me.

  • If you’re shooting pictures of one child, by themselves… then try F 2.8 and focus on their eyes and let other things behind them be out of focus
  • When photographing two or more persons sitting together try F 3.5 or F 4.0 to be sure that they’re both in focus and sharp.
  • When photographing a larger group of people try F 7 or higher. I usually recommend basing your initial aperture on the number of people. For example, if you’re photographing five people then set it at F 5.0 or higher. When photographing nine people move it up closer to F 9.0 or higher.

The higher aperture numbers will close up the lens a bit and allow for more things to be in focus even if they are not on the exact same plane.

This image below was shot with an aperture of F 8.
This shot below was photographed with an aperture of F 5.
This shot below was photographed with an aperture of F 2.2

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 17

DAY #17!

TIP #17: If your background isn’t ideal, open that lens up wide and make it soft, blurry, and beautiful.

The other day my little boy and I were having a moment. This is my little guy who sticks out his tongue at the camera, is hardly ever serious, and watches tv upside down on his head (literally). Well, he and I were having a sweet moment in the backyard at home together. He wasn’t wiggling. He wasn’t sticking out his tongue. He was just being sweet and we were enjoying each other. I had my camera because I was taking some pics of my nephew and I started taking a couple of pics of my little guy. I wasn’t about to ask him to move to a “prettier spot” cause that would change the moment for sure. Instead I opened my aperture up to 2.2 so that the background would become more blurry and look prettier than it was. The left side of the background is my neighbor’s house and roof. The background also consists of the typical backyard fence and some plants. And now it’s blurry enough that it doesn’t bother me. Instead I love this picture. Try it. Take your aperture down to a really small number. Try 2.0 or 2.2. Get in somewhat close to your subject and shoot. See what you think.

My manual settings for this picture were:
ISO 100, aperture F 2.2, shutter speed 1/400 second, 50mm lens