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    Annoying problems at common aperture settings (and how to solve them)

    | Photography Tutorials | Tutorials | 10/08/2012 02:00am
    1 Comment

    One of the most important steps in learning about photography is understanding how to use aperture, because controlling your lens’ aperture settings enables you to take control over depth of field and dictate the size of the sharp area around the focus point in an image.

    Annoying problems at common aperture settings (and how to solve them)

    If you want a lot of the image to be sharp, for example, you need to select a small aperture setting such as f/22 and if you want to restrict the depth of field to isolate a subject from the background, you need a nice wide aperture setting such as f/2.8 or f/2.0.

    Whatever aperture setting you use, you need to select an appropriate shutter speed to ensure that the image is correctly exposed.

    If you shoot in aperture priority mode (often signified by A or AV on the mode dial), you set the aperture setting that you want while the camera takes care of the shutter speed.

    Most cameras allow you to adjust aperture in 1/3-stop or EV steps. In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the common problems with using wide, middle and small aperture settings and explain how to overcome them.

    Problems with wide aperture settings

    Common problems at common aperture settings: wide apertures

    SUBJECT IS SOFT
    Because depth of field is very restricted at very wide apertures it’s absolutely vital that you focus at exactly the right point – especially if you are shooting a very close subject with a long lens as depth of field decreases as focal length increases and subject distance decreases.

    Common problems at common aperture settings: wide apertures

    Solution
    Make sure that the active AF point is over the most important part of the subject. In some cases you may find you are better off focusing manually. If possible, magnify the live view image on your camera’s LCD screen to get a really good view of the the target area and make sure it is razor-sharp.

    SEE MORE: Apertures: when to go small and when to go wide

    Common problems at wide aperture settings: background too soft

    BACKGROUND TOO SOFT
    Shooting with a very wide aperture helps separate your subject from its surroundings by blurring the background, but sometimes the surroundings can be too soft and unrecognisable.

    Common problems at wide aperture settings: background too soft

    Solution
    If you want to retain a little context try closing down the aperture a little even just one stop can make a huge difference.

    SEE MORE: 49 awesome photography tips and time savers

    IMAGE IS SOFT
    Even if the focusing is spot-on, many lenses produce slightly soft results when they are fully open.

    Solution
    Close down a little and you’ll find the point of focus is significantly sharper.

    SEE MORE: Breaking bad photo habits: 10 classic blunders (and how to fix them)

    IMAGE IS OVEREXPOSED
    Opening the aperture right up means lots of light can reach the sensor so only a very short exposure is used. In very bright conditions it may not be possible to set a fast enough shutter speed and this will cause your images to be overexposed.

    Solution
    If you encounter this problem, the first thing to check is your camera’s sensitivity setting, you need to set the lowest value possible.

    If the image is still overexposed use a neutral density (ND) filter on your lens to reduce the amount of light that enters your camera. ND filters are grey filters that cut out light and don’t produce any colourcast.

    Problems at wide aperture settings
    Problems at middle aperture settings
    Problems at small aperture settings

    READ MORE

    Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings to use)
    99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
    100 Nikon DSLR tips you need to know right now
    Canon EOS cameras: 100 things you never knew they could do
    Master your aperture with our free f-stop chart


    Posted on Friday, August 10th, 2012 at 2:00 am under Photography Tutorials, Tutorials.

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