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Learn by Doing Photography – Aperture

Learn by Doing Photography – Practice your photography skills with weekly photography assignments. I will post a new assignment every Friday, you can post your pictures at the bottom of this post or on the DigitalCamFan Facebook. If you have any questions please refer to the guidelines, if you have no questions jump right in any time!

Photography Assignment #1 – Take the same picture using different apertures

Getting back to basics! If you’re ready to take your camera off auto and move to manual, we’re staring at the beginning! If you have been using your camera for awhile on manual then  it’s time to review. I think I need to hear things over and over again for them to finally sink in. For instance last month I was taking some pictures of the kids in the snow when about half way through I remembered I needed to adjust my exposure if I wanted to snow to be white. I think doing things over and over again is what it takes to remember all the proper settings. So here is a quick review on Aperture:

Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO are the three elements that affect our exposure. You would think to have a correct exposure all three would have to line up perfectly. But you can have a correct exposure at 1/60 (shutter speed) with f/16 (aperture). You can also have a correct exposure at 1/2000 (shutter speed) with f/2 (aperture). Two pictures perfectly exposed using two completely different settings, yet creatively they’re very different. That is what we’re going to practice this week, what happens when we use different exposures.

What is an aperture? It’s the opening in your lens which helps determine how much light is going to reach your camera’s sensor.

What is exposure? Light enters your lens which stays open for a certain amount of time to record an image

What is Depth of Field? It’s the area of sharpness from near to far within your photograph.

What is Bokeh? The blur in the out-of-focus areas of an image

Aperture is also refereed to as f-stop –

The smaller opening (higher number) will give us more more depth of field. So if your camera is set at f/22 your entire scene is going to be in focus.
The larger opening (lower number) will give us less depth of field. If you use something like f/2.8 your going to get that lovely bokeh look, where something is in focus and the    background is all blurry.

Now on to the assignment! First off I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!! I have one more set of Christmas photos for you! I took these pictures at Christmas when I was thinking about what the first assignment of the year was going to be!

All these pictures were taken with a Canon 60d using the 50mm f/1.8 lens on aperture priority

1/2500 sec at f/1.8IMG_3102

1/1000 sec at f/2.8

1/640 sec at f/3.5

1/250 sec at f/5.6

1/125 sec at f/8.0

1/60 sec at f/11

1/30 sec at f/16

1/20 sec at f/20

1/15 sec at f/22


Next Week Learn by Doing Assignment #2 – Understanding your ISO

Learn By Doing – Focal Length vs DOF

This week we’re experimenting with focal length vs. DOF. I thought the result was pretty cool! Using Aperture Priority, but  leaving the aperture at f/5.6 for both pictures. I took this picture hand held at a coffee shop. This adds to what we have been learning… If you want a shallow depth of field there are three elements that you have to think about:

  1. The focal length of your lens
  2. The distance between you and the subject
  3. The aperture you select

These two pictures were hand held.  I focused on the cup in the first picture at a focal length of 55mm then I simple adjusted the focal length to 18mm without changing any of my settings (except the focal length)

The picture shot at 55mm f/5.6 definitely has a more shallow depth of field!

These are the results to week 6 of Learn By Doing – How does focal length work with depth of field?

Learn by Doing – Trying out different Aperture Settings

This week we are pushing forward with aperture settings.  Understanding aperture settings  was extremely confusing to me at first. It seemed backwards when I would hear someone say f/16 is a smaller aperture opening than f/1.8, but apparently it’s true… This week’s assignment was to set up your camera on a tripod and just change the aperture on the same picture to see what would happen.  I took five pictures ranging from f/5.6 – f/22 – ISO 100 – 55mm focal length.

Next Post will be – Why when you change the aperture does the picture go blurry? First I have to research because I have no idea! I understand that if I use a wider aperture opening like f/2.8 I will have a shallow depth of field but why?


Assignment #5 – Changing your Aperture

To find your correct exposure you need to account for three different elements. ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

Today I want to play with our aperture setting.

First off the aperture is the size of the opening in the lens. The larger the hole the more light comes in so if you have a lower f stop like f/1.8 more light will come in.  A smaller aperture will have a larger number like f/22 which will let in less light, but give you more depth of field.

The best way to understand this is to practice! This weeks assignment is going to show how creative an aperture can make a picture:

1. Set up your tripod

2. Turn camera to aperture priority

3. Focus on subject a third of the way in the picture.

4. Start with your aperture on the lowest number your lens has and take a picture

5. Change your aperture at least 4 times – example  5.6 , 8, 11, 16 and 22

Don’t move your focus, don’t move your camera just change the aperture.

What happens? I know what will happen, but I still have to understand why! Besides doing the assignment this week I am going to research this week why this happens.