11 July 2012

F- stop Magic- Learning about depth of field


You have joined me again for another day on my mini photography course...

On Monday I touched on how aperture can be used to adjust and correct exposure.
Aperture is not only good for one thing though!
Aperture controls depth of field; esentially how far your camera is seeing.

On a low f stop ( a small number) the lens is opened very far but the camera isn't seeing far into the distance. This gives though beautiful blurry backgrounds.
This effect is known as shallow depth of field.

In my opinion, particularly with portrait and still life photography, using a shallow depth of field gives your photos that professional feel. The subject is brought into focus with none of this distracting background.

I think having a beautiful depth of field is what sets SLR's apart from compacts. Any f stop lower than around f6 will give you this effect. The lower the f-stop the more blurry the background.

This is one of the main reasons I shoot manual. I don't want to sacrafice my aperture and blurry backgrounds for the sake of letting my camera choose the exposure.

Depth of field is so much fun to play around with.
Try lining objects up and change which one you focus on. Get in close to craft projects, highlight a particular area. Play around with natural light as well- this works really well with flowers.
Experiment with different f-stops. Go as low as you can.
I have even bought a seperate lens that can go as low as f1.8, just to get that lovely depth of field!

My challenge for you today:

Go out (or in if you are in england and it is probably raining) and play around with depth of field.
There is no right or wrong for this. If you have a go, do link up in the comments so we can all see your creations!

If you are not 100% comfortable with going full manual, most cameras have an "A" setting (aperture select). This means you can choose what f stop you want and the camera will deal with the rest of the exposure!

Have fun!

I apologise that most of these photos are of these two handsome men. They were the only willing models. Needs must hey!


scrappyjacky said...

Another really helpful post,Abi.

Abi said...

Thank you Jacky, I am glad that you are finding them interesting. x

Sinead said...

Loving this mini-series Abi! I just got my first DSLR a couple of weeks ago, and your posts so far have been very helpful:D I've mainly been shooting on aperture or shutter speed priority modes, but I think your last post may have convinced me to branch into full manual! Thanks again xx
P.S. I also ADORE the blurry background look :)

debs14 said...

The only manual cameras we have here are the old fashioned kind that need film, from back in the day when my husband was a keen photographer. I keep suggesting that maybe we need to get a digital SLR so that he can get back into his hobby again - with the added bonus of me having something to play with too ;-)
If I manage to convince him, I will be sure to remember to look up this mini course as you explain things so well.