Fundamentals of Aperture: Create Images With Depth | Alan Winslow | Skillshare

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Fundamentals of Aperture: Create Images With Depth

teacher avatar Alan Winslow, Photographer/Co-Founder of Restless Collective

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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.



    • 2.

      Assignment Overview


    • 3.

      What is Aperture


    • 4.

      Depth of Field


    • 5.

      Problems and Solutions


    • 6.

      Wrapping Up


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About This Class

This is the second class in a series of three designed to get your camera off automatic and to shoot completely in manual exposure! In this class, we’ll discuss what exactly Aperture is, why we want to control it, and how it can drastically affect our overall image. Have you ever wondered how photographers blur the background of an image? Or how to make landscape photographs where every single part of the image is tack-sharp? This class is geared toward photographers who want to have full creative control over their cameras. There is no prior knowledge or experience required but I strongly suggest taking the first class Fundamentals of ISO and Shutter Speed: Create Images That Freeze or Blur Action.

Meet Your Teacher

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Alan Winslow

Photographer/Co-Founder of Restless Collective


Alan Winslow is a photographer and educator based out of Brooklyn, New York. His work is regularly featured on the Leica Blog, and has appeared internationally in ELLE China, Adventure Cycling Magazine, Pro Photographer New Zealand, and PDU Edu. He has lectured at numerous Universities and taught at the Maine Media Workshops and College. Alan has spent the past six years alternating between freelance work and long-term project with Restless Collective, which have taken him halfway around the world by bicycle, and all the way around the United States twice (once by bicycle, once by camper).

Alan is a co-founder of Restless Collective. You can see some of their work at:

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1. Welcome: welcome. My name is Alan Wins A and I'm a photographer and educator based out of Brooklyn, New York This is the second of three classes helping you to get your camera off automatic into shooting manual exposure. There's no experience needed to take this class, but I'd highly recommend at some point you taking the first class fundamentals of eso and shutter speed to get a better grasp on some of the other features inside your camera. For this class in particular, we're going to investigate aperture and how to creatively use it to control depth of field . If you love images that have a blurry background where the subject just pops out, or images where everything in the frame is tack sharp in this class is for you will discuss how to produce those images and more. I love giving photographers the tools they need to make the images that they dream of. The best way to do that is to have full creative and technical control over your camera. We're going to break everything down and get out shooting immediately, so let's get started 2. Assignment Overview: I'm really excited about the Simon for this class. We're gonna produce a small series of images showing off your favorite places. So where do you love to go? Maybe it's a simple is your living room or the beach? Or maybe it's your entire city, My favorite places. The Adirondack State Park in upstate New York. That's why I have based most the images for these videos in that location. At the end of the class, you'll head out to your favorite place and produce four images to using shallow depth of field and to using wide depth of field here, a couple examples of the Adirondacks To give you an idea to give variety to your images, remember to visit in photograph at different times of day and under different lighting conditions. I'm really excited to see what you produced, and if you have any questions at all, you can contact me through the message board 3. What is Aperture: What is aperture temperature is the opening in her lens that allows light to pass to the sensor. The aperture is controlled by a diaphragm, which is a series of overlapping blades. Take a look through this like a lens as a make adjustments to the diaphragm. The opening their gets larger. Smaller, as you can imagine, a larger opening allows more light. Enter the camera and hit the sensor. A smaller opening allows less like to hit the sensor aperture numbers air called F stops. The smaller the F stop number, the larger the opening and vice versa. The larger the F stop number, the smaller the opening. I know this may sound a little funny at first, but you get used to it. Here's a diagram to help you out. You could see as you progress from F 2.82 F 16 the opening its smaller and smaller. Now, if you're interested, F Stop is calculated by dividing the lens focal length by the apertures diameter. Here I've listed are aperture settings and full stop movements of 2.8 at four at 5.6 F eight F 11 F 16 to name a few each one of these movements either doubles or have the amount of light coming through the aperture. For example, F 5.6 is letting and twice the amount of light as F eight if 11 is letting and half the amount of light as F eight. You might notice that as you make adjustments on your camera that you see more options in these. That's great. The camera manufacturer is giving you 1/3 stop or half stop options. Basically, they're allowing you to have extra control, usually in the cameras menus. You can adjust this if you'd rather see Onley full stop movements and take a second to locate where, exactly the aperture is being displayed in your particular camera if you're looking through the viewfinder. Typically, the F stop is represented as the second number to the left. As you could see from this example. Currently, my F stop setting is 7.1. If you're looking at the back of your camera screen, it should be somewhere around the top left hand corner in this example. Here, you could see it's the second number from the left on the top row, and if your camera has a top screen. The aperture setting should be on the top row directly in the middle. If the F stop numbers aren't located in these typical areas, take a look at your own yours manual to see where the camera manufacturer placed them for your specific model. Now, how does this help us with their exposure? Remember that photography is all about recording light and that the aperture and shutter speed are linked together. If you open your aperture wide, allowing more light to pass through, you have to increase your shutter speed. If you close down the aperture, allowing less light to pass through, you have to decrease your shutter speed. This is great for low light situations in particular. If there is very little light and you need to hand hold their camera or freeze action, you can open your aperture up to get quicker shutter speeds just the opposite. If it's very bright out and you want to blur movement, you can close down the aperture toe. Allow less light to pass through the lens, allowing you to photograph in slower shutter speeds. In these example photos. I had to rely heavily on aperture settings in order to make the images that I want. The only light source was a fire. In the first images, I wanted to make Portrait's of my two friends watching the fire burn. I didn't have a tripod, says him holding the camera and needed a quick shutter speed. So everything was sharp over is very dark out. The solution was to open my after up to F 2.8 to a lot more light to pass through the lens . The next to images show the same bonfire photograph for different intent. The first image I wanted to blur the flames, so I changed my aperture setting to F eight to allow less light to pass through the lens. This allowed me to use a longer shutter speed that blurred the movement. The second image I wanted to freeze the action for this image again opened the aperture up F 2.8, allowing for a quicker shutter speed of 88th of a second that furs, the flames and sparks in midair. And the next lesson we're gonna introduce depth of field and using average or creatively to get Mawr. Unique images 4. Depth of Field : How do you use aperture creatively? Now that we know what aperture is, we can explore its creative side. Aperture is one of the key components that controls depth of field, one of my personal favorite creative practices and photography. When you think of an image that you absolutely love, what does it look like? Do you love images where the subject is tack sharp, but the background is out of focus. Or maybe you love images where everything is tack sharp throughout the entire frame. This is depth of field. Whatever you decide to focus your camera on, it's called the focal point. The area in front of and behind the focal point that is acceptably sharp is your depth of field. Depth of field is not a hard line, rather gradual fall off of focus if you choose a shallow depth of field less of the image of being pro cas. If you choose a wide depth of field more, the image will be in focus. So why is this important depth of field allows you to direct the viewers? I typically portrait photographers one isolate their subjects from a busy background so they choose to use a shallow depth of field where landscape photographers want everything to be tack sharp, showing off the entire scene so that she was a wide depth of field. As photographers, we need to choose what to show and what to hide in our images. So how does aperture help trolled up the field? Large apertures represented with a smaller F stop number produced a shallow depth of field and small apertures represented with a larger F stop number producer wider up the field. Let's take a look at a real life example For this exercise. I set the camera a fixed location. I then placed three objects equal distance apart from each other and focused on the dogs I to show the effect of depth of field on the image change the aperture setting from F 1.4 all the way to F 22. Taking an image at each full stop, you could see how the image changes in the first couple of photographs. The dog is the only thing that is sharp, which isolates it from the other objects. You could still tell what the objects are, but there's no doubt that the primary focus is the dog as they make adjustments to my temperature. That pair and flowers get sharper and sharper until I reach F 22 everything is tack sharp. You could see how photographers have a lot of control, with just some small aperture adjustments here. The two extreme side by side F 1.4 in F 22 This is a great exercise to get familiar with depth of field and see what style you like. While we're on the topic of depth of field, we should cover to other factors that help control it. First, the physical distance to the subject depth of field decreases the closer you are to your subject in these two examples and made the images using the same aperture setting where just two point since my focal point was physically closer in the paddle. Photographed in the landscape, the depth of field appears to be shallower. The final factor. We're going to discuss the slightly controversial, but I want to discuss it anyway. Longer focal length lenses like 100 or 200 millimeter appear to create a shallower depth of field than wide lenses like 24 or 35 millimeter. Really, they're just magnifying the subject within the frame, However, for standing in the same spot, resume in the final image appear to have a shallow depth of field with a telephoto lens. Take a look at these two examples. I stood in the same spot and zoomed in from 24 millimeters to 70 millimeters. That tighter shot at 70 millimeters seems to have a shallow depth of field. What we're concerned about us, How the final image looks so we could safely say a long focal length lens will produce an image is shallower depth of field. So let's recap. We can controlled up the field using these three factors first. After setting, the larger the opening, the smaller the number, the shallow your depth of field distance. The subject, The closer you physically are to your subject is shallow. Your depth of field would be focal length of the lens. The longer your lens this shallower, the depth of field of appear. I think it's really fun to experiment a play with depth of field. Eventually you'll develop your own style based on what you like to shoot. For instance, I produce pretty much all my photos between F 1.4 and F eight because I enjoyed that aesthetic. You, on the other hand, might work in the opposite range. Feel free to post on the message board what apertures you'd like to use in various subject . 5. Problems and Solutions: quickly. I want to discuss some problems you might face while working with up the field. When you're using a shallow depth of field technique, remember that you have to pay very close attention to your focus. The depth of field in the image can be mere inches or millimeters, depending on your settings, which could mean the difference between a miss shot or beautifully tax shark marriage. Take a look at this example here I'm using an aperture of 1.4 so that the field is extremely shallow. The first image. I focused perfectly on the subject guy, making a beautifully tack sharp marriage. The second image. I missed my focus slightly and caught the nose, causing a miss frame. If you're taking an image of a group of objects, take into account how much their arching. If you focus on the center object with a shallow depth of field, the objects on the end might be out of focus. This is also true when you're taking photo of a group of people. Last thing you have to really pay a ton to do if you're shooting in a very shallow depth of field. If the object itself is moving, whether it's a flower blowing in the breeze or portrait of a person just swaying back and forth. So if you're using those razor razor thin depth of field settings like temperature 1.4 after 1.8, subject can easily fall in and out of focus with any sort of movement. And here's a quick tip on photographing a landscape where they're using a wide or shallow depth of field. Traditionally, photographers focus in the bottom third of their frame to get the best focus. 6. Wrapping Up: there you have it. I hope this class helped you understand both the creative and technical components of depth of field and aperture. I believe that the field is one of the most powerful tools and the photographers to a box. I just absolutely love being able to control what's in and out of focus inside my frame so that I can direct the viewer's eye to a specific point. Now it's your turn to go out and explore your favorite places and produce four images, two images using a wide depth of field and two images using a shallot up the field. Once you've completed the assignment, post them on our project gallery. Do you have any questions at all? Feel free to post them on our discussion board. I'm really excited to see your images and your favorite places to get up shooting and post away. Thanks