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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 13 of 51

Lens, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

13. Lens, Aperture, and Shutter Speed
Lens aperture will also create blur in the background and foreground. Learn how aperture can create a shallow depth of field using a wide aperture, or more sharp detail with a narrow aperture. Then, see how shutter speed can freeze action and how a slow shutter creates motion blur.


Lesson Info

Lens, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

Okay, listen up. Because what I'm about to tell you is perhaps the most important thing you'll learn in the entirety of this course lens, aperture and shutter speed of the only control in your camera that directly affect the aesthetics of your photographs. Get to grips with these two controls and you're 90% of the way to completing the first step in becoming a master photographer. We've already seen how lens aperture controls the amount of light coming into the camera. But Lens aperture also controls depth of field. That is how much of the scene, from foreground to background appears sharp. The thing about depth of field is it controls emphasis, that is, which objects all areas in the scene people pay attention to on which they ignore. Now let me explain why human beings focus our attention on objects at a sharp, and we ignore objects of the blood. The more blood they are, the more we ignore them. Because your attention has been on May, you probably haven't noticed is large waste own b...

ehind me until now, by changing which objects appears sharp in the picture space, we change emphasis. So in composition, using depth of field weaken visually, remove distracting objects by blurring them, and isolate and emphasize important ones. Conversely, if every object in the scene is important to your story, such as in a traditional town scape or landscape, you can use depth of field to create foreground to background sharpness and take people on a visual journey throughout the image space. In other words, emphasis is on the whole space, essentially depth of field, which is controlled by lens. Aperture is a compositional tool for including or removing visual objects from the picture space way. Theo Speed allows you to control how time appears in a photograph. You can use a far shutter speed to freeze time revealing detail and form or slow shutter speed, which blurs time, creating a sense of motion and speed on the slow of the shutter speed, the more abstract the image. Now what constitutes our fast or slow shutter speed depends entirely on the subject. It's all relative. For example, the shutter speed needed to freeze the movement of the world's fastest tortoise would be very different to that needed to freeze the motion of a cheater in hot pursuit of a gazelle, say the cheetah would need a shutter speed in the one thousands. The tortures in the one tents andan this example shutter speeds of 1 4/1000 on 1/40 would both be considered fast relative to the subject. That said, as a rule of thumb for action shots of subjects such as animals and sports, I want to shutter speed, pushing 1 1000 for faster to reveal the movement of the same subjects. I would typically be setting my camera to a shutter speed of between 1/10 on 1/30. So to sum up, we've determined that lens aperture controls emphasis on shutter speed, determines how you reveal time. We refer to these as the exposure variables on part of your job as a photographer is deciding which of the two lens aperture or shutter speed is the dominant variable. What you decide will determine the best exposure mode to use

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!