Blog Photography 101: Aperture
First off, sorry I missed the photography tutorial last week! Life got in the way. And you also might notice that you’re at a different URL today! After talking with some of my friends, they asked why I had two different blogs, and to be honest, I don’t know why, I was already talking about The Fox & She on Blog Better, so it made sense to just combine them. So from here on out, all posts for Blog Better will be found here!
I’m back today and excited to share with you guys the last of three basic manual photography tutorials and this one is my favorite. Aperture! Also known as F-Stop, is my favorite of the three pillars because, to me, it’s the most obvious one to see. Aperture also plays a part of how much light makes its way to your sensor, but it also changes the depth of field of a photo which is an incredible thing to master as a blogger.
So let’s start basic. Aperture refers to the hole which through light passes into the camera. When you change the size of this hole, you are changing the amount of light that’s let into the camera. So depending on your lighting situation, you may choose a different aperture, but the reason you’ll mostly use it for is to change the depth of field in your image.
I keep saying depth of field, so what does that mean?! It refers to how much of your exposure is in focus. A shallow depth of field (smaller f-stop number) will only focus on the objects in the foreground and leave the background blurry and a wider depth of field (larger f-stop number) will produce an image with more of the background in focus. Seems easy enough, right?
The tough part about this is that the way it’s easy to get confused. A smaller aperture or hole, is actually a higher f-stop number while a wide aperture (bigger opening) actually has a smaller f-stop number.
I think the easiest way to remember it is that the lower the number, the less in focus the background will be. This also means more light is let in because the opening is much bigger. As the f-stop number goes up, things get more in focus and let in less light. Go ahead and take a few practice shots if you’re still confused. I’m a visual person, so practicing always helps me!
The reason this is my favorite pillar of photography is because it makes my blog photography look a lot more professional and interesting. It gives photos a more artistic or creative feel and I really love that. I want my people to be drawn in to my content and photography is the easiest way to do that. For outfit shots it can help draw attention to you or even specific details in a photo. I typically shoot at a 3.2 for full body shots and 2.0-2.8 for detail shots. I used to shoot on 1.8, but my face and feet were always blurry and I figured that I had a bad lens, but then realized that it was user error. I really love that blurred background, so I always shoot as low as I can without sacrificing on quality or sharpness. Here’s a few examples and you can see the aperture below it.
f/2.0, 1/1000, ISO 160
f/4.0, 1/320, ISO 160
When it comes to lifestyle images, like food, I usually go around 3.5 to make sure everything on the plate is in focus. Sometimes higher if I’m shooting a whole bunch of things from above. Again, more examples with food.
Also, I should mention that not all cameras have apertures this low. Some only go as low as 4.0. If you’re really wanting to get that depth of field, there’s two lens I recommend — a 50mm f/1.8 is a great starter lens and really affordable (at least for Canon, I can’t speak to the Nikon version). I have since upgraded to the 50mm f/1.4 and just added a 35mm f/2.0 to my collection and that’s my new go-to. I shoot everything with it. It has a slightly wider angle which makes it a lot more versatile for shooting different scenarios. The images come out super crisp and I highly recommend it if you’re wanting something nicer and more versatile.
Okay! Now you should have a really solid base of your manual settings! I’d love to hear from you guys? Do you have any questions or things you’re trying to figure out?! Feel free to leave questions below and I’ll do my best to answer!