Using aperture creatively

Using aperture creatively

This is one of my favourite ways of creatively using Aperture and Shutter Speed together. What’s interesting about getting this type of photo is that with the proper settings selected to get this shot, the histogram will say that the scene is very underexposed. But, if we were to expose the scene “correctly” according to the camera in Auto Mode, we wouldn’t get this type of effect. We probably wouldn’t even see the stars at all! So, in order to trick the camera into letting us completely underexpose the photo, we need to use Manual Mode.

What’s the first thing you wanted to capture when you opened up that DSLR camera box? Was it that incredibly soft background look? This goes by a few different names, shallow depth of field, bokeh, blurred background… if this is what you’re looking to capture.

Aperture and depth

Let’s start with Aperture. Typically, the larger the Aperture, the shallower the depth of field. An Aperture of f/1.4 is more likely to produce a photo with a buttery smooth background than f/13

Distance to Subject and depth

Next up in this wonderful trio of shallow depth of field is Distance to Subject. Let’s say you have some fruit on the table that you want to photograph and about 15 feet in the background is your fireplace. Well if you stand right up close to the fruit, focus on it, then photograph it with the fireplace in the background using an Aperture of say f/8, the fireplace in the background will be blurred.

Now, if you were to use the exact same camera settings, back up 5 feet, and take the same shot with the focus being on the fruit, the background won’t be quite as blurred. This is because, the closer your are to your subject, the shallower the depth of field. The further you are from your subject, the larger the depth of field.

Focal Length and depth

Lastly, we have focal length. Telephoto lenses work great for creating that shallow depth of field look as opposed to wide-angle lenses for one particular reason. Just as zooming in magnifies the subject in focus, it also magnifies the soft background

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