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12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

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12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by Soupie on Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:32 am

Welcome to 12 Weeks to Better Photos - an online course designed to help you guys get the most out of your cameras! This course is designed for novice photographers, or for people who have no knowledge of their camera beyond the "auto" setting. The course has been put together by Mark and Joanna Bolick and I will be posting a new module each week for the next 12 weeks. Each module will include information and a challenge, so you can test out your skills.


WEEK ONE: APERTURE BASIC TRAINING

One of the most necessary but oftentimes least understood parts of photography is Aperture. The size of the aperture, or f/stop, of a lens determines how much of your photograph is in focus. Generally, when you hear someone talk about f/stop, they are referring to aperture -- the terms are often used interchangeably. The f/stop on a lens can go from 1.2 to 22 or some­times higher. (It’s not really important to this class for you to understand the mathmatical basis for these numbers, but instead to understand what they mean to your photography.)

F/stops can be confusing at first. The f/stop numbers refer to how open or closed the aperture on the lens is. The wider the opening of the lens, the greater the amount of light that enters your camera at one time – which means that when your aperture is wide open your focus will be shallower and fewer things in your photo will be in focus.

Here is a photo of an open aperture on a lens.

The WIDER the aperture, the more light that comes through the camera -- because a lot of light is flowing through the aperture opening LESS of your photo will be in focus.
A low f/stop, such as f/1.4 or f/2.8, is considered a wide-open aperture.

Here is a photo of a closed aperture on a lens.

The SMALLER the aperture, the less light allowed -- because there is very little light flowing through the aperture MORE of your photo will be in focus.
A high f/stop, such as f/22, is considered a closed aperture.

The smaller the opening on the lens, the smaller the amount of light that is allowed to enter your camera at one time – which means your focus is deeper and more of your photo will be in focus. The confusion for most people arrives when you try and put the f/stop number with these scenarios. In terms of aperture openings, f/1.4 would be a wide-open aperture on most high-end lenses, whereas f/22 would be a virtually closed aperture.
Basically, when you use a low f/stop, less of your photo will be in focus. When you use a higher f/stop, MORE of your photo will be in focus.

This week, we’re encouraging you to check out the “Aperture Priority” mode on your camera (check your manual if you’re not sure if you have this mode.) Aperture Priority is usually repre­sented with an Av or A symbol on your camera dial. When you are using the aperture priority mode, you are responsible for setting your own aperture while letting the camera set the shutter speed.

NEXT WEEK:
In ideal lighting conditions, it’s easy to play around with your aperture settings to create a variety of different images based on how much of your photo is in focus. Problems can arise, however, when you find yourself in a low-light situation and have to use a low aperture for a photo where you want the majority of your subject(s) to be in focus. This is where shutter speed and film speed (ISO) come into play with aperture, and we’ll address this relationship in next week’s lesson on advanced aperture.

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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by kayjay on Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:39 pm

This is great Sue. I am sure I will learn a lot about the manual side of my digital camera from these courses. Have been looking at doing a Chisholme course or similiar but they always seem to be at the wrong day/times! So now I can do it at my leisure (and cheaper) and practice with the challenges. I hope you get a good response

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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by redant on Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:12 pm

Thanks for this Sue- this is fantastic.

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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by Julie M on Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:20 pm

LOVE IT!

thanks so much for posting this Sue.

I appreciate you!
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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by vickstar on Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:56 pm

LOL, my camera is permanently on Auto so i can't wait to give these classes a go!! Smile

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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by Soupie on Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:19 am

For anyone out there that doesn't own an SLR camera and just has a "point and shoot" style camera that does not allow for adjustments of aperature, film speed, etc...DON'T DESPAIR!!! Some of the upcoming modules are about lighting, composition, etc and will be relevant to everyone, regardless of what sort of camera you have!

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Re: 12 Weeks to Better Photos - Week One

Post by PaulaP on Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:58 pm

This is fantastic! One of my goals for this year was to learn more about my camera & to come off auto a bit more!
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