Why Are My Pictures so Flat? (The Mystery of Aperture)
This is a question that I struggled with for a LONG time. I sought out every action, tutorial, etc that I could to make my subjects “pop” out of the frame at me. Nothing worked. Finally I got out of my own way and just examined pictures of those that I would love to shoot like.
Then all of a sudden one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. Lighting and Aperture. Sure there’s other things that go into it but DEPTH OF FIELD. DUH!!!!!!
So this blog post is just to give a little insight into aperture and the uses.
The size of aperture (or f/stop) of a lens is basically determining how much of the photograph will be in focus. Understanding how your f/stop works is critical to adding depth to your photographs.
The change in aperture on your camera regulates the amount of light you are letting into your camera at one time, directly impacting the focus. If you are shooting in manual then you know how the aperture, shutterspeed and iso work together to create your photograph. If you aren’t shooting in manual I fully encourage you to learn how to do so!
Low F/stop number = MORE LIGHT (more bokeh!)
Higher f/stop number = LESS LIGHT (less bokeh!)
Notice the image above is sharp, the subject is pronounced, the focus is obvious. It was shot at F1.4
Notice the image above that almost everything is in focus, nothing stands out much, the picture is almost boring. It was shot at F9.
Notice the image above: the books, the spoons, even the subway tiles are part of the story. This can be distracting if you were trying to tell a story about the books. Shot at F9
However, in the shot above notice that the backsplash is not dominate in the story. At F1.4 it allows it to be part of the scene, while not dominating it.
F9 makes it almost distracting if the story was about the books.
Shot at F1.4
Shot at F7.1. Focus was on the “a” in The skinnytaste Cookbook.
Shot at F1.4. Focus was on the “a” in The skinnytaste Cookbook.
In summary, if you are looking to amp up your artistic style aperture is the key.
It allows you to really make an impact on the story, pulling subjects off the background & creating a buttery finish.