Thursday, February 18, 2010

Share Friday! Getting Off Auto Part 2

I just know that everyone has rushed and read their manual from cover to cover, Right!? Okay, maybe not but hopefully you know what your different program modes are. There are 4 different modes to choose from

1. Auto- the camera chooses everything for you
2. Aperture Priority- you pick the aperture and the camera picks the appropriate shutter speed.
3. Shutter Priority- you pick your shutter speed and the camera picks the appropriate aperture.
4. Manual- you control aperture and shutter speed

All modes are good to use in certain situations (except for auto, in my opinion). I will go into a brief "how to" for each different mode. Up first is Aperture Priority!

Aperture Priority Mode: Nikon is A; Cannon AV

Before digging in and just moving your setting to "A" you need to know exactly what your aperture does. Your aperture is the opening that allows light into your cameras sensor. To understand it more take a moment and check out this link below as it will give you a visual of each different aperture setting.

Visual on Aperture from short

Not only does the aperture controls the opening of light it also controls your depth of field. That my friend is the "magical blur" that we all love. How do you get that? Well the bigger the the aperture (remember from the diagram smaller number=big aperture) the more depth of field which equals more blur. If you want more details on depth of field there are plenty of articles on the web on the subject. Here is 2 pictures that shows you the difference:


Small Aperture Setting (big number) f/25 (aperture); 1/100 shutter speed
See how everything is nice and crisp. The foreground (the bird) and the background (the trees). When you need everything to be crisp and in focus you want a smaller aperture (f/22, f/13, f10 etc.) Example for use: landscapes, large group of people


Large Aperture Settings (small number) f/5.6 (aperture); 1/1600 shutter speed
Notice how my subject is nice and focused and the background is blurred. This is only at a aperture of f/5.6 which is the smallest that lens (70-300 mm) would go. But there are other lens that create even more of a blur when they can open up as much as f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8 and etc... Lenses that have the large apertures are known as fast lenses as they let in a lot of light so you can shoot with a little less natural light without the use of flash. One of my favorite lens is the 50mm 1.4 and I use this lens 90% of the time. So the more bokeh (blur) the larger your aperture is opened up thus smaller f stop number. I know it is a bit confusing but you will get use to it and it will be second nature. There also a few other things that relate to your depth of field but we are only touching on aperture. Examples for use: photos of 1-2 people, when the background is distracting and you want to blur it out or when the light is limited.

Now that you know what your aperture does you can move your settings in Aperture Priority and start shooting. Set your aperture at what you want for your photo. Go and be brave and start experimenting with it. That is what is so great about digital immediate results and if you mess up just hit delete! Most of what I have learned I have learned right here via the internet so if you are need more information or want to dig deeper in this just Google and you will have more info than you could ever want!

Have a great weekend and have fun getting your camera off of Auto!!
Next week Shutter Speed!


Karin said...

OK, Ally...I'm going to try this TODAY! :))) Thank you so much for the tutorial! (Of course, I did NOT even touch my manual this week...)

Cindy M said...

I think Aperture Priority is a great step to learning to shoot on manual. You get a feel for what apertures work in what settings. It's a little less scary for those on Auto. It's funny, though, once you start shooting in manual, you wonder what all the big deal was to begin with, right?