Add depth to your pictures by using different apertures
Experiment with different apertures and perfect your shooting technique to produce pictures that grab viewers’ attention and keep it there
Once you take control of the aperture of your lens and choose where to focus the camera, you’ll be able to draw the viewer’s eye into the frame. By mastering the art of using apertures, you can sharpen focus on the part of the image you want to draw attention to, using the rest to complement this aspect.
Once you take control of the aperture of your lens and choose where to focus the camera, you’ll be able to draw the viewer‘s eye into the frame.
The aperture controls the depth of field – that‘s the area in front and behind the subject that retains sharp detail. The smaller the aperture, the deeper the area of apparent sharpness in the frame. This is useful for maximising the depth in a landscape or a macro shot.
The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field in the picture. This is very useful for blurring out any background distractions in portraits. Focusing and aperture control work hand-in-hand.
If you‘re working with wide apertures and the resulting limited range of apparent sharpness, you have to get the focus spot-on, otherwise the whole picture will look soft. This is particularly true with close-up shots, where depth of field, even at small apertures, can be measured in millimetres.
You can use this to your advantage, though. Selective focus, where you sandwich a sharp subject between layers of blur, enables you to direct attention straight to the subject. To do this effectively you‘ll need to use a telephoto lens which will compress the perspective and soften foreground and background detail, thus exaggerating the layered effect.
Camera skills: Find a cleaner view
Wide apertures are great for blowing out a background to a soft blur, but even this won‘t be enough if elements of the background aren‘t far enough away from the subject.
The first shot here shows a bud that‘s been photographed using a tree as a background. The result is a light, distracting background and because it‘s quite close to the bud it has not been thrown completely out of focus.
The second shot was taken after moving the tripod-mounted camera a foot or so to the side, so that the tree was not in the shot. The result is a much more pleasing dark background which makes the subject pop.
Always consider backgrounds and use the depth-of-field preview button of your camera if you‘re working at anything other than wide-open aperture.
Here are two takes on the same set-up, but where different focus points have provided subtly different results.
The shot above shows a good layered effect, with both a blurred foreground and background. However, the leaves in the background are also brought into sharper focus.
The shot below, where the foreground flower is brought into focus instead, works better.
on Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 2:19 pm under Photography Tutorials.
Tags: aperture, basic photography skills, beginner tips, camera settings, camera skills, camera tips, landscape photography tips