Exposure Basics

Hello, i just wanted to comment on your photos, which are breath taking. Also, to ask you, i work with a 35mm SLR camera and work with mostly black and white photography, but im still stuck on trying to figure out the shutter speed and aperture settings, is there a certain knowledge, or a list that depends on the type of lighting ?

Hi – Thank you very much for the compliment regarding my photography. I appreciate it very much. I find that every subject and lighting situation is unique and it’s more of finding the right balance of several factors to achieve what you want to emphasize in the image. This is why I shoot in either manual or aperture priority mode. You’re already doing the most important thing which is taking creative control of your image making versus just shooting away in program or full auto. That’s where new photographers become frustrated because they soon realize that the camera can’t make those creative adjustments that result in photographs that go beyond just average. There’s a good list here of all the factors to consider – http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/20-questions-and-answers-for-new-photographers/.

Two important rules to remember when it comes to shutter speed and aperture:

Shutter speed will directly impact the sharpness of your image (ISO too). Usually when you go below 1/30th of a second when using a prime lens you introduce the potential of shake. This is why I highly recommend a tripod because once you have the camera stabilized you can shoot using all those other slower speeds and usually there is where you’ll find the best results particularly as it applies to nature and landscapes.

Aperture controls your depth of field, or what’s in focus from foreground to subject to background. Wider aperture is the smaller number and shortest depth of field, which is often good for emphasis on the subject such as portraits. Smaller aperture is larger number (f16-32) that will help keep everything from foreground to background in focus, but remember you’re also reducing the amount of light coming through the lens and this where you need to watch your shutter speed.

No one setting works independently of the others. One impacts the other. It’s only through constant practice and experimenting do you start to get a feel for how it can all come together to the point where you can achieve the results you’re looking for when it comes to your photographs. And then there’s the exciting world of digital editing and workflow, but that’s for another post.

I hope this has been helpful. Keep shooting and most importantly, keep having fun.

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