Digital Photography Basics - What is the f-stop? | Michelle Storm | Skillshare

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Digital Photography Basics - What is the f-stop?

teacher avatar Michelle Storm, Fresh photography tutorials

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What is the F-stop? Easy way to master the f-stop


    • 2.

      Eye vs Camera: This simple comparison will help you understand what an f-stop is.


    • 3.

      F-stop Numbering System. How to work our your f-2's from your f-22's.


    • 4.

      Golf Balls to Eyeballs: It's all about the F-stop


    • 5.

      F-stop numbers on lenses & camera menus


    • 6.

      F-stop: Depth of field, bokeh & clarity


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About This Class

By comparing the human eye to a camera I will help you understand what f-stops are in a simple easy to understand way. You will learn how to use f-stops correctly. How to decide which f-stop to use for different lighting conditions, and which f-stop to use to create crystal clear images or beautiful blurry backgrounds and foregrounds aka 'bokeh'. You will never be baffled by the f-stop again. I promise!!

Meet Your Teacher

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Michelle Storm

Fresh photography tutorials


I'm Michelle Storm of Stormfresh Photogaphy.

I work as a freelance wedding and events photographer, and when time permits I provide photography tutorials for small groups and write and delivery photography courses for colleges.

My bitesize classes on Skillshare have been created to help new photography enthusiasts understand their cameras and move away from the automatic mode. My classes are designed to take newbie photographers through the initial steps of getting to know their digital camera, so that we can progress together through the wonderful world of creative photography.  Feel free to add your feedback, post ideas for classes and follow me to get updates for future classes.

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Level: Beginner

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1. What is the F-stop? Easy way to master the f-stop: Hi. Welcome to my class. On what is the f stop? I'm going to make quite a complicated concept, simple to understand by comparing it with the human eye because there's quite a lot of similarities with the way cameras have bean designed in relation to the human eye. And I think if you can understand the basics of the human eye, you'll help you really grasp what the F stop is. Well, the F stop is something that you need to know when you start working with your camera manually. So once you've moved away from the automatic settings and you're starting to grapple with how you use your camera manually, the F stop becomes really important by understanding the F stop and knowing which s stop to use in which situation you start taking control of how you take your photographs on the camera is no longer controlling the way you take your photographs. This class, we'll cover what the F stop means what the F stop numbering system is, how you decide which f stop to use, depending on what you want to do with your photograph, how you want your photograph to look. It will go into the effects of the F stop on the depth of field and the clarity of your image. So if you're just starting to use your camera more on manual and you want to switch over from automatic, this is gonna be a good class for you because it's part of the process of learning how to use your camera using the manual settings on your camera so that you controlled how you take the photograph. By the end of this class, you'll be able to use your if stop correctly, know exactly why you used yesterday in the way that you do. And I'm gonna ask you to contribute a photograph that you take two or three times using different F stops to show. The difference is that that makes in that same photograph. Please join me in the next video. 2. Eye vs Camera: This simple comparison will help you understand what an f-stop is.: So here's the comparison between the human eye and a camera. The first point of entry for external light is on the camera, the surface of the lens and in the eye. It's the cornea, which is the surface off the lens off the human eye. In exactly the same way, the light hits the surface of the cornea, and it hits the surface of the lens of a camera. I am comparing the muscle of the eye, which is the iris, which creates the color in the eye, and it constricts and opens. So it's physically changing the size of the pupil in the eye, depending on how much light is coming in. So if there's lots of light outside, it's a sunny day. Our pupils naturally construct. They get smaller, and that's because the muscle of the eye the iris closes that people down, it reacts to light equally. If it's a dark conditions, our pupils dilate, they get larger. And that's because the iris is aware of how much light is coming in, and it needs. It needs to open up to allow more lightens that we can see in the dark. It's an old cameras. We have this mechanism on the outside of the lens, which is numbered with F stops. And as you change it, left or right, what you're doing is you're changing the F stop, and that, in turn, is changing the size off the Apertura inside. So my comparison is that mechanism, which is old train. Your aperture is the same as the iris muscle in the eye opening and closing dilating constricting the people. So I'll give you a close up of this lens and what you'll see as I'm moving little f Stop ring round, you'll say metal sheets opening and closing to reduced or increase the whole inside the lens, thereby reducing or increasing the amount of light that's passing through the lens. If there's lots of light, the iris restricts the pupil changes the size of the pupil toe, a smaller size pupil and in the same way as we moved the F stop numbers left. All right, we're opening and closing hole inside the lens and restricting or increasing the amount of light that can go in. So in my comparison, the F stop is the equivalent to size off the pupil in your high in the back of human I There is a thing called the retina. And this measures the amount of light coming in through the eye in the same way the I s O light sensor meter in the camera is the equivalent of the retina in the human eye. 3. F-stop Numbering System. How to work our your f-2's from your f-22's.: the stop numbering system is purely a focal length ratio predetermined, worked out by lens manufacturers that uniforms all lenses so that we, as photographers, can be certain that a matter what lands were using if we use the same F stop in a variety of different length lenses, that same ratio of light is going into the camera. The F stop numbering system is the way that we work out which f stop we're using. However, it's the numbers that make it tricky to understand, because is counterintuitive. So, for example, a small aperture, you would think, Oh, it's gonna be a small left number, but it isn't unfortunately, so when you have a large number so f 22 F 16 F 11 that actually means it's a small aperture , a small pupil. So if it's very bright outside, lots of sunlight, what did your people do? It gets smaller, so if you want to create the same effect in your camera, you have to choose a large F stop number. But it's only the number this large. It's not the size of the hole that you're creating when you choose the F stop number. Likewise, if it's a small number like F point to 4.5. That's actually a large aperture. A large pupil dilated people low light conditions. 4. Golf Balls to Eyeballs: It's all about the F-stop: So I created some my balls from golf balls on What I've tried to do is show the different aperture sizes so people's dilated and restricted on have also color coordinated them. So this is for dark conditions. And this for bright sunlight. Clever. And then you can correlate the bright with the size of the people. And it's just another way of trying to get across the simplicity of what the F stop really is because, although in essence, it's a really odd complicated jargon is stick terminology. Once you've grassed, it is very, very simple. And I think things like this might just help in bed that a little bit easier. So you might get This is silly. So I'm just going to a quick time lapse. Susan these and then it's something that you could maybe just go back and have a look at. If you're struggling with anything of explains. So far, 5. F-stop numbers on lenses & camera menus: If you had an old camera and could see the lens on the front of the lens, there's a whole load of numb numbers. Andi. There is a set of numbers that are specific to the F stop, and it means the size off the F stop that you are picking. So you're choosing a particular size of F stop, and that is affecting the opening inside the lens, making either larger or smaller, which then reduces or increases the amount of light traveling in to the camera. And on this little lovely camera, you have this dial here that opens and closes the aperture on the lens, and these numbers to two point 8.5 increments in between are changing the F stop and you know what F stop your own because you read the number from one full stop to the next full stop is exactly twice the amount of light well, half the amount of light, depending on which direction you're going in. So F 5.6 is exactly double the amount of light that F eight gives you from F 82 F 11 your harv ing The amount of light that you're are allowing into the camera if I go right from F two F two on this particular lens is the widest depature allows. The most light in that this lens will allow other lenses might go down to 1.4. The next full F stop on this lens would take you two F 2.8, and that would decrease the light coming into the lens by half off what f stop to allows by then move it from F 2.8 to a full. I'm reducing the light by half again and so on through stops. That's a full s stop between eight on 5.6. But it also gives you the option of 1/2 of N F stop between the two F stops. Now, in addition to this, this particular lens allows me half stop movement increments, so that is in between F 11 and F 16. It also allows May to reduce the light or increase the light by half stops. So rather than having and doubling between full F stops, I can take it down, pull up 1/4 off that night in digital cameras. Today, this is generally done within the menu of the camera, so you won't physically changing your F stops externally like this manually on the lens, it's more likely that you'll find these settings inside the menu because you're using a digital camera. However, you do have a lens that still works in this way. This is how you would move it and change from one of Steptoe another. 6. F-stop: Depth of field, bokeh & clarity: How does the f stop affect your depth of field? Firstly, I'm just gonna quickly go over what depth of field is for those of you that might not be aware of it. So you have an object pressure, autofocus, or you're focusing on this object, but you have a foreground and background. How much of that background of foreground is in focus as well as the object you're actually focusing on? That's determined by your depth of field depth of field men. How much depth of clarity do you have from that point of focus in front and behind? So if you use a large number F stop, which is a small aperture, it one restricts the light, so it's not over exposed. But it also condenses the light on when you condense the light. It means everything is in focus, which is great for things that landscapes or this situation where you need clarity. You need to make sure that I'm not going in and out of focus. If I used a small F stop number, which means a large opening aperture, so large dilated pupil it would disperse the light. It would also shorten the focal point so my eyes might be in focus. But my nose might start going out of focus because it's a very short, full ground on background, this state in focus. So that's great for portray. It's when you want to just really concentrate on a very small area, and you want the background or blurry and all that lovely Boca kind of thing that everybody's into. We want the four foreground to not distract from what your folks in attention on. That's how you work with your F stops to create either blurry backgrounds on four grounds or sharp backgrounds and former. So it's really important that you understand how your starts affect things because you then need to work out the light conditions that you're working with. Are you going to over expose if you open up your f stop that much, Andi, you would need to probably look at some of my other videos, which I will be uploading soon. That will help you work out those dynamics and how you offset one effect for another and how you get everything the way you want it by understanding how to use your camera manually . So don't worry if the f stop numbers that I'm using are not on your lens because all ends is different and it depends on the some of the more expensive lenses have a longer F stop options, so you'll go 32 down to 1.4. Doesn't matter the principles the same. You just need to know what your smallest F stop in your largest F stop in the mid range f Stop him from that. You can work with exactly the same principles that I've taught you. Here. You'll know whether it's a small opening, large opening mid range opening. You'll now understand that if you choose a small, actual large number a small aperture that will increase your focal length and clarity. And if you choose a large aperture opening, which is a small number, it will allow more light in. But it will make your foreground in your background blurry when I'm asking everyone to do it. To take a photograph of something doesn't matter what it is and take that same photographed two or three times with different F stops on upload all three of them so that we can see how the F stop effects that particular photograph feel free to leave a comment. Feel free to let me know anything that you want to know about photography. And then I can maybe set up her class specific to your request. Thank you so much for watching my class. I hope it's been of help. I hope you now understand what the F stop does and how it will help you use your camera more effectively in manual settings.