Digital Photography 101


Digital Photography 101


Lesson Info

Camera: Aperture and Modes

Okay, so you've seen this groovy little icon all over the place it's like ok, look something camera asked what is it? Well, this is representing the opening in the lens that you're using on your camera and you might think of it sort of like an eye like a human I like the pupil in your eyes you know if you go into a dark room your pupil in large is toe let in more light and then if you go into a very bright space your pupil constricts toe let in less light and you might think of the aperture on your lens that lets in light your camera in that way think of it like the human eye ok and it's leading light into the scene now it's represented in something called f stops so you might see this on your camera may not mayor man it may or may not see the f, but you will see the numbers that will say two point eight four point o five point six now these are apertures, but it also depends on the lens that you're using and I'll talk a little bit more about lenses too, but I'll talk some about about ...

it here if you have ah particular lens that say came with your camera some people call the kit lends it might have an aperture on the lens itself we steve grab one here and pointed out you might have let's say here's the lens here, so this is a and I'm not. I haven't really gotten totally into lenses, but since we're talking about aperture and how it effects that the lens that you're using effects the aperture I want to show this this is a twenty four to one o five millimeter lens that's the focal length, but this is also an f four lens precipitated it says it sometimes in different spots. Um, will you wait? Take my take my word for it, it's an f four meaning the aperture on here will allow me to set my aperture settings on my camera two f four, which is one of the aperture settings here, which is one of the circles that you see here, which would represent the largest aperture opening that this lens would be capable of. So that means that's all I can use this faras my my aperture setting on my camera. So that's, one of the the reasons people get a little frustrated when they're just starting out with photography and trying to adjust their exposures and play with aperture on their camera is because their lens may not allow them to use that particular aperture. Typically, when you get into the wider apertures on lenses, they become more expensive, so I'll talk more about that, too. But before I get too into numbers and all that stuff because I want to kind of give an overview and I don't want anyone's eyes to glaze over just yet just so you can kind of get an idea of of what it is I know when I first started learning photography, it took me a while to really grasp this. So if it's if it's feeling modeled right now that's normal okay? And the more you hear this and actually the more you actually do it because when you can do something, here it and then do it so there's a physiological way that we're learning it's really ingrained in your brain that way, but just, you know, we're starting we're starting out for now, this is like the beginning, so just kind of you know, you could take a little notes and kind of remember it and it will start to sink in, but here's how it works. So remember those apertures that I showed you, those with the openings in the lens kind of represented by this graphic up here in the left hand corner you can really use aperture for creative effect, and when I get into some of the exposure settings like malia was mentioning, she uses aperture priority, meaning she chooses the aperture on her camera and for creative effect and here's where that works, ok here's a picture that was taken the aperture is f sixteen and that little fabulous green arrow that I put in air points to a smaller aperture opening so it's letting a little less light into the scene what it gives you for creative artistic effect is something called a deep depth of field sometimes denoted by you'll see d o f out their depth of field so meaning that you can see things and focus from near to far so it's a greater depth of field I'm seeing mohr that's sharper so why would I take a shot like this for creative effect? Well, maybe I'm writing an article for the local newspaper and I'm talking about the man in the pier or something or I want I want equal emphasis on both people are the person in the thing in the photograph so I want equal emphasis on what's in the foreground and what's in the background that's when you would use a smaller aperture so that one of those smaller little holes there and I'm not going to get into too much about that right now but to confuse matters even mohr the smaller the hole with the aperture of the larger the number just think think small little hole over here and it's all I want you to think about right now so small little aperture and you get a greater depth of field to mohr and focus from near to far now look at this shot, same guy, same pier, but the peers looking kind of blurry. In fact, it has that blurred outlook that some people try to achieve with their photographs. Maybe they're taking portrait's and things like that, and they wanted them to look more professional. And sometimes this is what people think that is and it's a cool effect. You can adjust and have a larger aperture, larger opening, which is larger opening in the lens, letting in more light. What that does is I can focus now on what's, whatever I choose to focus on, everything else will have what's called a sh shallow depth of field. So larger aperture, shallow depth of field so that's a great creative choice you might make you're taking on. So now this is a different story. I'm writing for the local paper and it's it's just about the man, not the pier, because you can barely see it out there, or maybe the man in the mist or you know something that that's that's what that would be my emphasis in my my artistic direction for this particular photograph. So going back to the first one right here, this is a very small aperture, and this gives me a great depth of field maurine focused near to far this is a wider aperture and now I can blur out that background so this is where people why people like to use aperture priority and I'm going to show you exactly where that is on the camera okay? So backto auto yes, it could be a good place to start and it helps you feel more comfortable with your camera and if you're just starting out maybe just using a compact camera just started using it digital slr automatics a good place to begin so that you can get used to holding the camera and also what I'm talking about that I'm just going to show you something right now about how to hold the camera because it's kind of a it's a basic thing with first off it comes with a strap for a reason so you want I usually try to put it around my neck and if I ever hand the camera to someone else to take a picture of me I put it around their neck um I often times will carry on my shoulder to but this is a good spot for it. So if you're shooting an automatic it's a good time till start learning just how to hold the camera so it's got a grip on the on the right side you've got your right hand there and it feels pretty intuitive here's where the part comes in that people get confused about when holding the camera there like this or they're like this you know but the best way to hold the cameras to support the lens if I had any bigger lens on here of being even more reason for me to support it from down below so and also in my hands down here if I had a zoom lens which this is not but I can also this is a focusing ring but I can take this hand and I could actually do more with it underneath here supporting and working this focusing ring so while you're shooting an automatic this is a good time to practice on the holding the camera so if you have a compact camera I'll show you that the second but the dslr is the one that most people have a problem with and then you want to make sure that the way that you're standing it's not like you know this where you can like well around you want to be like a tripod you know think like a stable base spread your feet at least shoulder length apart and I like to bend my knees a little bit because that's going to give me some leeway to get a shot if I need to kind of move around like this and then I also place my arms kind of into my body that's a stable force and then bring my camera optical viewfinder right up to my I like that so not this but this because this way I've got stability and I can kind of move around if I need to and I've got more control and pro photographer asked you ever use wrist straps wrist straps for camera so I didn't bring any wrist straps but you can buy online or in stores wrist straps that will fit over your camera and just slip your hand and like that and hold it on either side depending if you're right hand or left handed moving around so there are other ways to hold your camera there's also this cool strap that's been out for a while called the rapid strap that like screws into the bottom of your camera and like fits like over this way and you could move your camera all over the place like that and that's kind of cool but really it just if you just purchased the camera comes with a strap so I'd say definitely put it on and use it I wouldn't carry the camera around without one because it's just there's too much chance for it tio fall and break and also if you're ever leaving it on a table don't leave it hanging like that either you want to make sure the straps up in a way okay so I kind of segued waitinto other things but I wanted to mention that if you are shooting an automatic it's not such a terrible thing if you just I want to feel more confident with your camera and learn how to hold it and use it, you know, practice an automatic, and this is that what automatic would look like on the mod ill? And I kind of changed these around to be groovy colors that you know you'll see them represented on your camera, usually that automatic little squares green, but there are better ways to do it, so I just wanted to let those of you know that that you're shooting an automatic that's fine, you can capture some decent shots that way, but as creative people, you want to kind of move along and do some other things so here's, how you do that if you have a compact camera, every camera varies, but I've noticed in some of these canon cameras that even going into what's called the manual mode and your menu settings still the camera still making a lot of exposure decisions for you, but it gives you more leeway with your eyes so and different flash options. So even though it's his m for manual on some of these compact cameras and even some of the older ones, it still is going to do some things for you automatically, but it just gives you more leeway and same thing with the mod ill on a dslr or even a compact camera there's something called program it's not p for portrait's its program and what that is is really just a more sophisticated version of automatic so the camera's still making exposure decisions for you like shutter speed and aperture but you have more control over flash and s o so we talked about you know, adjusting that I also if you're in a low light situation and let's say you're in a scene where you're not sure what the lights going to be in your running around and and you just don't have time and maybe you just you don't have the brain band with at the moment you're too concerned with like corralling six kids or something turn it on p for program and that's still using an automatic setting in the camera but just gives you more freedom if you want to start cycling through some other options and that depends on your camera but believe me, you will have other options with your eyes so and your flash it just if you're shooting an automatic, just move over to that p for program and things will open up for you so let's I'm going to start with these air just some basic icons that you see all kinds of places on compact cameras it might be in a mode ill or could be in the menu settings and then on a modi alana dslr you'll see a lot of times there to kind of depending on the camera model or how professional or entry level it is, but you'll see these icons all over the place and I just wanted to know what they're for so you can use them and you don't always have to use them for what the icon says just think about what it does so what portrait setting does is it tells your camera to use an exposure setting that will be great for people, so when a lot of cameras what it will do is even automatically just for skin tones andi, it will if you stand back far enough and zoom in even on some compact cameras and certainly with the digital slr and zoom in with the longest focal length that's possible on whatever camera you're using you khun blur out that background so that's what the portrait setting does it's a semi automatic setting I called like the the semi automatic setting, but if you're in a hurry and you're not quite sure how shutter speed aperture work just yet, you can use that to kind of adapt for shooting one or two people and say portrait so that's what it does it kind of gives you that exposure setting that might help blur out the back room so the landscape setting it looks like a little mountain range it's pretty much the same on most camera models and what that does is it tells your camera too expose everything pretty much in focus from near to far so just like that shutter speed, I was showing you, you know, to get deep to up the field and everything. This is like an instant way to do that without even having to worry too much about what all the settings are just turn it to the landscape mode. It will well, usually if especially if enough light in the scene, you don't want to do it any dark situation, but a scene with enough light in it, it will help you expose, and this is great for landscape shots, which is why I think they're using this particular icon to help you think of that when you take landscape shots think of those ansel adams photographs where you saw rocks in the foreground trees in the mid ground and then mountains in the background and everything looked pretty much focus, right? Well, he had a very deep depth of field and it's photographs course he was using a much different camera, and he could use a really small aperture, but that's the general rule of of some it's, a way to think about it, that deep depth of field and that's, what landscape allows you to dio? But what I found it's really cool to do is not only shoot landscapes with it, but sometimes if I'm shooting groups of people ever shot pictures of, say, a family or group situation somewhere and you have people in the front people in the middle people in the back and you take the shot and everyone smiling and it's all great and you look at the picture later and go everyone in the background is blurry, but every one of the fronts and focus what did I do wrong? Well, there's some exposure settings you can use to fix that, but if you're not quite sure about how to do it yet, turn it's a landscape mode and make sure you've got, you know, decent amount of light out there fairly bright or maybe under the shade of a tree on a bright day and you can get everybody and focus so that deep up the field members sometimes if you have a shallow depth of field, it looks a little blurry or people say out of focus, we'll talk more about focus, but focus could be kind of a confusing thing tio things could look out of focus because you're moving things could look out of focus because they're moving. They could look out of focus because of your depth of field so all different things but landscape mode things and focus near or far and this macro mode now on compact cameras, macro mode works great and I've used this a lot and now you can use it some of the camera aps have macro mode in it, and I think I just got the new iphone five s, and I'm still exploring some of the things that that does just the basic camera app on that, but all phones have different things you can do with it, compact cameras have a macro setting, and on these cameras you can get really close. It just means a supposed tio usually like the minimum post focusing distance might be a foot away on some cameras, but with you have a compact camera set a macro mode, you can get really close to something, and it looked amazing. I mean, I'm like the woman you'll see in a restaurant taking pictures of forts and the salt and pepper shaker and all this stuff in macro mode, you know, with my compact camera because things look really groovy and macro mode or flowers, but that's, this is like the classic thing that people think I'm going to shoot macro and because the macro icon is a flower, they think, well, all I can shoot us flowers, right? That's just the flower setting, but no, that just means you can get your camera really close toe whatever you're shooting and it's going to look much different than when you're in one of the other exposure settings and this works particularly well on compact cameras I want to mention though that this is confuses people sometimes they first get into say an entry level dslr camera and they turn the macro mode setting because here on this dslr let's see there's one on here to show you that this is a cannon tea for I some and I think they have a t five I now tio keep coming out with you know the newer models but this would be considered an entry level dslr and on there is a macro setting a little flower and you have just you know your regular lens that you came with the camera it's not a specific macro lens and you set it to that and then you try to get in close but it doesn't really work in close well that has to do with the lens on the camera do you really want to get true macro shots and get in really close to something and have it be on a bigger dslr camera with a bigger sensor then you need to buy what's called a macro lens a specific lens for that and I brought one here yeah this is the cannon fifty millimeter macro lens and I think it I think it cost a couple hundred dollars something like that it's not like a super expensive lens there are other macro lenses you can purchase their arm or expensive but I think when I was just starting out shooting back right up we're gonna experiment with this and it just opened up a whole new world of possibilities, so I was taken shots of all kinds of stuff and, you know, you can capture water droplets on flowers and bugs, and I have a friend who loves you. He'll have coffee every morning out on his miranda, and he has flowers out there and he's just kind of sitting there having coffee, and he always has his ah compact camera with him, and he saw this fly land on a flower and he just like click and macro mode and look like national geographic shot or something, so try playing around mac remote it's really a lot of fun. Um, it's the little things, the count o so I was already moving into sports mode, so sports mode, which also on some cameras, they call it kids and pets mode because it's for people and things and that move fast, that's denoted by that like running guy icon. So what this tells your camera to do is to use a fast shutter speed. Andi again, you want to make sure you've got enough light, but here I've got elissa just jumping up in the air and because I was in sports mode, not only could I capture a picture of her jumping up the air and have it be pretty sharp and I didn't have to really, you know, worry about I got to get this shutter speed setting in this and that, and that, whatever I just went sports mode and on a lot of cameras to when you're in sports mode, if you keep your finger press down on the shutter button, it will take pictures in quick succession so you can get things like three people playing around in fact, a really fun thing to do. Maybe we'll try this here with some of my students just to get them kind of used to working in a fast shutter speed and just it initially start off is to turn it to the sports mode and, you know, outside of bright light, and I'll be jumping around in front of the camera and they just hold their finger down on the shutter button. It just goes t like a paparazzi, and they've got me in every way. Ha situation so it's kind of fun to play around with if we don't do it and you can go home and try it, your family and friends of play around, um here's, another setting that's a lot of fun to use, and this is called night scene, or could also be called slow sink on some cameras and basically what is doing it if they try to give you these intuitive icon so you look at and go oh, yeah that's what? That what that is it's a little guy with, like a moon or a star but his head? What that tells your camera to do is to use a a snow shutter speed on dh. Usually it will still also flash your subjects. So for instance, here's a shot I took for artistic effect using the night scene setting on my compact camera. I was in the disco on crystal cruises singing karaoke e dancing around and I wanted to take a picture of the group and and I took a shot and I just had it on the automatic flash looked like, okay, I thought you were going to put it tonight scene so what that does is it opens up the shutter, let it go longer, it picks up more ambient light in the scene and because it's using a slow shutter, any movement you know, shows up is a blur. But I kind of wanted that for artistic effect. So that's that's what happened in the shot so you can kind of use the night scene to play around? You can also use it in other situations where maybe you're inside and you want to still flash someone's face but you don't want the background to look completely black he wants some light to actually come the background like your birthday party and you want the beautiful ambient light of the candles to show or maybe you're a the arc de triomphe and you want to the lights back behind someone to show late at night as opposed to just like flashing and having everything turned dark so it's a great way to pick up ambient light in the background and of course here's another way tio turn off your flash different cameras very but you can either turn off your flash settings by using that flash icon on the back you're cameron cycle through your flash settings or you can just turn it off right in the mode dial so here's an example of this actually was taken with a compact camera I was on a photo shoot in tahiti and we shot all day like in the morning into the evening and we finished the shoot we wrapped in a bunch of us were sitting around the pool we put all the major photo equipment away, but of course I still have my contact camera because I don't go anywhere without my camera or a reflector, but I wasn't using the reflector here I just had the camera and I turned off the flash because I was kind of sitting far away from everything that was going on you know, those flash on, say, a compact camera, and even on most tsl ours it only goes for a certain distance like this might only go for ten feet. And then once someone's past that point, the flash may not even reach them. That's why? I was it's hilarious and I go to say, sporting events and people are taking pictures of people down on the field on their flash keeps going off there, lighting up the heads of everyone in front of them, but they're not you know, the flash is not reaching that far. So turn off your flash if you're shooting far away and also specifically to if you wanted to on ly capture the light and seen and not flash anything else around you turn off that flash. So here I was able to capture a silhouette. So here's another example of what the reflective light meter inside of a digital camera does is it measures the light and dark in the scene, and then it gives you what it thinks is its best exposure. So if I had this in an automatic setting, the flash would have automatically popped up. Does that ever happen to you ever been in, like a museum or something and tried to take shots and they say no, flash and go ok? And then you take the picture in your flash goes on anyway it's because you're you're an automatic and the camera things say there's not enough light here to make a great picture, so I'm just going to pop up the flash well if you have flash turned off or you are controlling that you know, on the mod I'll turn off the flash or through your flash options cycle through and turn off flash, then you can start capturing pictures where the flash doesn't come up and you can be more creative so I just saw these gals walking across the pool and the sun had just pete kind of out of this cloud and it was gorgeous so captured it now of course it probably would have been a better quality shot if I'd had my dslr out the super groovy lens, but I didn't. So sometimes the camera the best camera have is the one that you have with you and that you're actually using so it could be a camera phone or a compact camera or whatever it is get the shot because that's the moment if I didn't do that, I wouldn't have this to show you ok, so now we're going to get into the other side of the models we covered all these little icons down here in cannes and calls us their basic zone mode other camera manufacturers might call it something else icon's presets something if you move over to the other side of the dial that we're moving to the other side a quick question from alan s f and maybe you're going to cover this. But he says, at what point should you graduate from the scene modes to choosing aperture shutter spee and I saw yourself. So what point do you think you move on from all those c modes to what you're about to teach and who just asked that question was ellen alan s f right now, actually, whenever you decide, you know, there's, no like rule as faras do this and then graduate to this it's really, whatever. It's, whatever you're comfortable with, um, I like to kind of if you were going to go in a progression some people like to learn differently. I kind of like, just jump into the deep end. Other people like to do things in increments, so it's really it's a personal choice, but I'm kind of I'm kind of moving through it in an incremental way just to kind of give the broad over you.

Class Description

Are you ready to start taking amazing digital images? Join award-winning photographer Erin Manning for a three-day introduction to the fundamentals of digital photography — frustration-free.

Whether you take pictures with your phone, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or a DSLR, Erin will give you the tools you need to capture beautiful digital images. You’ll learn about light and exposure, including how to work with and modify your on-camera flash. You’ll learn about common errors beginning photographers make and develop strategies for troubleshooting. Erin will also guide you through the basics of digital image editing and sharing your images online.

By the end of Digital Photography 101, you’ll have the creative and practical skills to create, edit, and share stunning digital images.