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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Get Learned // Aperture Settings and DOF

Tip: DOF is cool.  It's Depth of Field. It's one of the basics of photography.  I've had a lot of people asking about how to take better photos at home with their camera or of their kids, friends, family and I've decided to share a few tips here and there.  If you're using a digital SLR there are a few basics you should know and GET DOWN GOOD.  real good.  real nice.

1. Practice practice practice
2. Know how your camera works
3. Practice practice practice

Those are my very first suggestions.  Knowing how your camera works is vital and sometimes when you're first taking it out it can be intimidating with so many buttons but the more you shoot, the more comfortable you will feel and more confident you will be to get your favorite shots.

I know taking your camera off that little green square of 'automatic' can be scary!  But you can also produce some very cool and more professional looking photos.  If you have a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) - SHOOT MANUAL!  It's absolutely fabulous once you do and you'll never go back.

One of the basics and one of my favorite technicalities of using a DSLR is being able to control your depth of field.  Your depth of field is related to your aperture.  Aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken and this is how much light is let into your camera.  Lower f-stops (wider aperture - ex. f 1.2) give a 'shallow' depth of field which allows you to isolate the subject from the background.  This is great for portraits.  If you're photographing a big mountain range and you want to see everything crystal clear you'll want 'great' depth of field (ex. f 22) to see all the details.

Aperture can be adjusted when you camera is on 'AV' - aperature priority - or in 'M' - manual mode.

More light                         Less light

AV - you choose your value from f1.2 - 22 or sometimes even a higher number and the camera will predict the rest of the information for you!  Bam, super nice and easy sometimes when you're just starting out.
M - once you get more comfortable switch it over to Manual and practice adjusting both your aperature and shutter speed.

The best way to get an idea of the different effects you can get with adjusting your aperture is shooting and SEEING it.  Below are a few images I shot with different apertures.
Think about depth-of-field as f1.2 = BLURRY and f22 = CRYSTAL CLEAR

Aperture: f2.8
Shallow depth of field
Notice the foreground and background are out of focus, allowing you to isolate a certain detail?
Below: Aperture set at f14.
Great depth of field
Notice how more of the photo is in focus?
I LOVE to use a 'shallow' dept-of-field (f2.0 -2.8 is my go to!) when photographing children.  You are able to get your subject in focus and blur out the background.  Giving you an adorable shot!
Little Kalen was photographed last weekend at f 2.0

Did you get any of that?!  I hope....so you can get out there and practice in the BEAUTIFUL weather that's coming up.  Whoop!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lovely Paris.

I returned recently from a trip to Europe.  I was in so many different countries in such a short time I was really starting to confuse the languages.  I flew into Amsterdam (such a COOL place) and trained it to Germany and just when I got down a couple German phrases, I headed to the Chez Republic and from there headed to France then Norway.  PARIS IS SOOO LOVELY.  I loved everything about it (minus the cold snap).  Yes, I did the touristy thing for 2 days but since I'm a photographer I'm continuously reminding others that "I'm not a tourist, I'm a photographer" and this is why I photograph absolutely EVERYTHING.  And friends ask, why are you taking photos of that or that random person.  (For the answer, see the photos below : ) Usually I am getting lost and am way behind the group.  :)  Thanks to ALL of you who've endured my traveling photo obsession. 
Ok - on to more that I loooved about Paris.  Eiffel Tower, Croissants! OOOH, fabulous food, fabulous desserts and fabulous people and a beautiful language.

Please can I be French too?
I took some advice from a wonderful photographer living in Paris - Carla Coulson - and stopped by Pain de Sucre.  OH my.  You should've seen the size of the smile of my face. I basically turned into a 4-year-old in a candy store.  To-Die-For.


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