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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cawfee Tawk Tuesday: Aperature Part II

Happy Tuesday everyone! Got your coffee? I've got mine- nice and hot with my favorite hazelnut creamer in it! YUM!

Anyway, let's get to it! Last week, we started on an important lesson in depth of field and aperature. I saw some great images throughout the week from some of you. Thanks for taking the time to humor me and do the homework. Gold stars all around!

So now that you're a little more familiar with depth of field and aperature, let's figure out how we can use it in our images. For me, adjusting my aperature is the best way to create my images and "tell my stories".

Let's talk first about the obvious. By setting your aperature to a higher f/stop number like f/22, you create tremendous depth of field where everything is in focus. This is perfect for those landscape shots where you want everything to be seen in great detail. Here is one of my favorite landscape shots, taken in one of our favorite places ever- Estes Park, CO.


However, using a higher f/stop number is not just for those landscape photos. Sometimes when shooting portraits, the environment adds to the image and it's better to keep everything in great detail. When I shot this image, the gorgeous setting only added to the gorgeous family so it made sense to me to keep it all in sharp focus. The setting helped me better tell this family's story.

Of course, it makes sense to keep everything in focus. Seems obvious. But there are times when it's better to "open up". Bring down that f/stop and open up that lens and focus ONLY on the subject you are trying to single out. Create that "single themed image" where there is no question as to what your viewer should be fixed on. Here it is the simple yet heart-melting smile of my little sweetheart.

And let's take this a step further! Seems obvious to focus on the face right? You've got a portrait, so you focus on your subjects. But let's take our story telling to the next level by using a shallow depth of field and an unusual focus. Here, rather than focusing on the bride and groom, I chose to focus on the flowers in my foreground. A much more interesting shot, the bride, groom, and minister are out of focus in the background and the viewer is made to feel almost like she's getting a sneak peek. It's a much more romantic take on an otherwise common shot.

Here's another great way to tell a great story without focusing on the people in the image. By using a lower f/stop and a more shallow depth of field, I focused on the flowers rather than the bride and groom and let the viewer get a sneak peek into the private moments of the newlyweds. So romantic!

Playing with your aperature is a great way to change the stories you are trying to tell with your images. It helps take your photos from snapshots to portraits or stories. After all, every great image tells a story! So spend this week experimenting. Look around you and decide before hand what images should be in full focus for great stories, and what images would work better as single-themed subjects. Take some shots using a shallow depth of field, and then try the opposite. After a while (and I mean after a long while, not just one week) you will start to notice that you tend to shoot either shallow or deep. You will start to realize that you like telling your stories using great detail or focusing on one element. And you'll start to develop a style!

As for me, I love to shoot more wide open, using a more shallow depth of field. And when it comes down to it, as much as I love a romantic shot, I still cannot resist setting my focus on those captivating and beautiful faces I find in front of my camera!

Go play and develop that style- and don't forget to shoot me an example or two! I love to hear from you! Happy shooting and see you next week!

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