Photo math isn't math at all. It's arithmetic. It's adding and subtracting light. It's also either multiplying by 2 or dividing by 2. That's it. Photo arithmetic is easy. It all starts with a stop. What is a stop? A stop in everything but photography is coming to a complete halt. No movement. No motion. Photographically, a stop or more accurately an f/stop is a quantity of light. F/stop, by itself, always refers to an aperture value of a lens. F/8.0 is an aperture value. F/stops are used in relation to an amount of exposure to describe how … [Read more...] about Everything you need to know about photo math
Shutter Priority exposure mode is a fantastic tool for controlling how motion appears in your final image. This exposure mode allows the photographer to set the shutter speed while the camera determines the aperture. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras offer at least four different exposure modes including shutter priority, aperture priority, program mode and manual. Although I shoot the majority of my images in aperture priority, I regularly use shutter priority for subjects where I’m concerned about properly conveying motion. How to set up … [Read more...] about Shutter Priority and when to use it
Exposure is the process of choosing the correct settings on your camera to produce a picture that "looks right;" not too bright, not too dark, and sharp where it should be. While your camera will figure all of this out for you, it's good to know how to take control away from your camera, and make sure it's making the right choices in each situation. In this series, you will learn what each setting means, how they affect the way your images look, and how they work together to create an image that matches your creative ideas. The process of … [Read more...] about Understanding exposure: The aperture setting
When I bought my first DSLR — a fancy Nikon D5100 — I was completely overwhelmed. I had watched a ton of YouTube videos and read the manual, but really didn't feel like I had a deep knowledge of how to use my camera. There was one piece of advice I heard that paved the way to where I am today in my photography — to use Aperture Priority mode. Photographing in Manual mode is often preferred by professionals because it gives you complete control over the camera's functions. But this can be confusing and oftentimes difficult to learn, which … [Read more...] about Getting started with your new camera: A for Aperture Priority
When I purchased my first DSLR — a Nikon D5100 — it came with a kit lens. It was 18-55mm and had a variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6. While the focal range was fairly common and a great starter, the limits of variable aperture soon became noticeable. So what is the difference between a fixed and a variable aperture in a zoom lens? Variable aperture lenses Lenses with variable apertures mean that the aperture changes based on your focal length. On my 18-55mm lens, I could achieve a f/3.5 aperture when zoomed all the way out to 18mm. When I … [Read more...] about Photography 101: The difference between fixed and variable aperture
When we talk about photographing behaviors and events as they unfold, we think about being “reactive,” or shooting on the fly. In a studio setting, we are “proactive,” we make decisions about pretty much every characteristic of the photo before it is taken. My goal with wildlife photography is to be more “proactive” and make as many choices before the action begins as possible, so I am not fumbling with settings when the good stuff goes down! Be a “ready” photographer Being a “ready” photographer means you are prepared for the things that … [Read more...] about On Nature: What settings should I use for wildlife photography?
I'm a part of several photography groups on Facebook, and some provide a suggestion to provide your camera settings for any photos you uploaded. Things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO, for instance. And while it can certainly be interesting to see these settings and see what they can do in certain situations, they don't matter in the long run. Settings Won't Help to Recreate a Photograph Unless you're shooting in a studio with no windows and can control the environment completely, settings won't be the end-all to recreating a … [Read more...] about Knowing the Camera Settings for a Photo Isn’t Really Important
As photographers, depth of field is something that's important to take into account with every image we produce. While it can create some cool creative effects like bokeh, it can also be used in professional ways to create a more appealing photograph. What is Depth of Field? Simply put, depth of field is the "distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appears acceptably sharp in an image" (Wikipedia). A large, or broad, depth of field (small opening large number i.e. f/16) has more of the image sharp and in-focus, … [Read more...] about Mastering Depth of Field
Love that blurred background look, but don't have a lens with a wide open aperture? Even if you're limited to something like a kit lens, you can still achieve the same effect. Both of the above photos were shot with my Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 lens at the same 40mm focal length, with an aperture of f/4. The only difference was that I physically moved closer for the photo on the right, which helped to shrink the area of focus. This in turn helped to blur the background more than it was. The same trick can work for any type of shot — try it at your … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Get Close to Achieve a Shallow Depth of Field
(Editor's Note: This is a guest post from our friends at MPB.com. MPB is a great place to sell gear that's no longer in use as well as where to buy quality used photo and video equipment at much lower cost than that of new.) Photography is completely centered around light: it not affects your photo's mood, but it also dictates what your settings must be in the camera to record a picture and represent that mood in the picture. Let's talk about how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO setting affect your image, and then we'll dive into the … [Read more...] about Looking For Light from MPB.com
(Editor's note: Tim Grey returns with another guest post. This one answers why the blades that form the aperture in a lens makes a difference.) There are many reasons to choose one lens over another, both when making a new purchase and when choosing which lens to use for a particular photo. But have you ever stopped to consider how many blades there are in the aperture assembly of a given lens? You might be surprised at the impact the structure of the lens aperture can have on your photos. Aperture Basics The lens aperture is designed to … [Read more...] about Why Do the Number of Aperture Blades in a Lens Matter?
Free Presets We've released a bunch of freebies lately to help you get more out of your software. This post gives you access to all of them in one convenient place. Photofocus LOOKs for Perfectly Clear Complete V3 Inspired Style presets for Macphun Luminar 44 Free Presets for Photomatix Free Presets for OnOne Super Deal on Perfectly Clear Complete (version 3) Perfectly Clear Complete started shipping this AM. We've got an exclusive bundle that saves you a bunch of money Perfectly Clear Complete v3 ($129 … [Read more...] about Free Presets & Exclusive Software Bundle for Photofocus Readers
Human eyes are incredible for viewing the world and seeing into shadows and highlights all at the same time. The basis of HDR photography is making several exposures at varying brightnesses and combining them in a powerful software app like Photomatix so we can view a photograph the same way we view the real world--into the shadows and highlights at the same time. We call it “bracketing” or “shooting for HDR” or “shooting brackets.” Every interchangeable-lens camera I’ve seen for sale in the last seven years offers automatic bracketing, but … [Read more...] about HDR 101: Shooting Brackets
Let’s think technical for a moment. A properly exposed image is created by mixing three key elements, known as the Exposure Triangle—Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO—to produce the right amount of lightness and darkness for a photograph. There are almost endless combinations that can be used to achieve an equivalent exposure. Leaving your camera in full auto mode will usually guarantee a perfect exposure, but not necessarily a perfect image. To be creative, a photographer decides how much of each element’s value to use based on the element’s … [Read more...] about Understanding Equivalent Exposure Pay attention – there’s a Quiz
This new Twist 60 lens from Lensbaby has my full attention right now. There are always new lenses boasting extreme sharpness or wide apertures or super telephoto, but Lensbaby steps aside from the sharper-faster-longer race and makes tools that actually help me be more creative. In short, it's a marvelous hunk of metal and glass, it's affordably priced, and I think you'll love it too. Keep reading for the reasons why. Petzval for the 21st Century Petzval was a scientist in the 1800's who created a new lens design, and it made big … [Read more...] about Lens Review: Lensbaby Twist 60
The aperture in a lens is photography's analog to the irises in our eyes. Our irises enlarge to let in more light in dim circumstances. They contract to a smaller size reducing the amount of light in bright places. The aperture (also known as the f/stop) in a lens does the same thing. Of course, there's a lot more to it.The aperture not only controls exposure, it is a creative tool too. Want the background out of focus? Choose the right aperture. Need things sharp front to back? There's an aperture for that. Bokeh? Yep. It's all about the … [Read more...] about Photography’s Basics: Aperture