mastering manual week one

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2 THE PURPOSE OF THIS WORKSHOP IS TO PUT THE POWER AND CONTROL OF THE CAMERA INTO YOUR OWN HANDS. When we shoot in automatic, we are at the mercy of the camera s judgment and decisions. Learning the techniques of shooting in allows you freedom and control to achieve the images that you intended from the beginning as well as artistic possibilities that are only possible when you take the power into your own hands. Welcome to the wonderful world of photography and shooting! EXPOSURE: THE PROCESS OF CAPTURING LIGHT WITH YOUR CAMERA TO PRODUCE AN IMAGE ON FILM OR A DIGITAL SENSOR. The Exposure Triangle: aperture All three of these elements maintain a perfectly balanced relationship to achieve exposures. If you alter one, the others must balance out as well. iso shutter speed 1. Aperture controls how much light comes in. 2. Shutter Speed controls how long that light comes in. 3. ISO controls how fast the light comes in. In order to use these three elements to obtain a correct exposure, your camera needs to measure or meter the light in your environment. The camera will then prompt you with the proper settings to correctly expose the image. (I told you it was easy!) METERING page 2 Make sure that your camera is currently set to mode so you can see your light meter reading. Your camera has a built in light meter (fig. 1) that you can see when you look through the view finder, usually as a small dot or moveable box (it is also the focus box). The reading results appear on a scale on the bottom part of the view finde, which prompts you to balance your settings for a correct exposure.

3 FIG. 1 When you push the shutter release button half way down to prepare for a shot, that box in the view finder is telling the camera two things: 1. where to focus 2. the light meter reading It performs both of these tasks simultaneously every time you push the shutter button half way down! The 18% Gray Rule Keep the 18% Gray Rule in mind as you meter off certain things: GRAYSCALE CHART Perhaps you meter off a black dog. The camera will want to make it gray, which will result in an image over exposed. Perhaps you meter off of a bride s white dress or have a lot of snow in your shot. The camera will want to make it gray, which results in an image that will be under exposed. page 3

4 So... what should you meter off of? Skin: People s faces or your palm (unless skin tone is very dark Gray card (or gray cement) Green foliage (when shooting landscapes) The sky (for sunsets, etc.) What metering mode to use? Each mode considers more or less of the focus area when judging the light (fig. 2). As the area gets larger, it averages the information for your reading. Most often, the larger area mode consideration will be the most accurate unless you are in a challenging lighting situation such as back lighting where the camera would see bright backlight as well as shade. This is when spot metering will be more helpful. FIG. 2 APERTURE FIG. 3 Aperture (F-stop): The aperture is an opening, located inside the lens, formed by a series of six overlapping metal blades (fig. 3). As you make adjustments on your camera to the aperture, the size of the opening in the lens either decreases or increases. This, in turn, allows more light or less light to pass through the lens and onto the film or digital sensor. What is the function of Aperture? page 4 Aperture shares the Exposure Triangle with Shutter Speed and ISO. Aperture controls how much light comes in. Most importantly though, aperture controls depth of field, or the area of sharpness (from near to far) within a photograph.

5 What influences depth of field? focal length of the lens distance between you and the subject you want to focus on aperture that you select (most important). The higher the aperture number the sharper the depth of field from near to far. The lower the aperture number the more shallow depth of field from near to far. The Three Aperture Groups High Depth Apertures (f16, f22): Everything in focus from foreground to background. When to use: You have a lot of distance or depth in your image and the foreground, middleground and background are all important enough to have in focus. Lighting tricks like silhouettes and starbursts. page 5 These more closed apertures SHARPEN things up. This is what causes the sharp rays of the sun. If I shot this same image at a more open aperture of f2.8, the sun would just be a blob.

6 As a portrait photographer I mainly use the storytelling apertures when I shoot silhouettes or star-bursts. Landscape photographers regularly use storytelling apertures for wide images that portray much distance. Low Depth Apertures (f2.8, f4, or f5.6) Sharpness is deliberately limited to a single area in the frame--leaving all other objects in the foreground or background as out of focus tones and shapes. This effect is a direct result of the aperture choice. The four images below are all example of low depth shots. When to use: You want to isolate your focus to a particular area of the photo. You want to blur your background. You have low light and need to let more in. Low Depth Tips: You must have depth in order to achieve the shallow depth of field. To blur a background, your subject can not be on the same plane as the background (i.e. a wall). Create depth by page 6

7 separating them from the background or get in closer to your subject to create depth. Low Depth Apertures have even greater possibilities dependent upon the lens you have. The lower aperture that your lens is capable of, the more artistic possibilities you have. All these images were shot at an aperture of f2.8 or lower. My all around favorite lens is the 50mm f1.4 or f1.8. Not only is it extremely affordable, it is an absolute high quality lens that is sharp, colorful, and allows you to produce some amazing low depth aperture images since it has the ability to host such a low aperture. This lens also allows for greater freedom in shooting in low light situations, since that low aperture will let more light in! Sweet Spot Apertures (f8, f11) This is the sweet spot of your lens for overall sharpness and greatest contrast in exposure. When to use: You have no depth Depth of field is not a priority page 7 Here are three sweet spot aperture images.

8 Aperture Tips Try not to shoot people lower than f2.8. If you have a fixed focal length lens, it can be quite tempting to shoot at 1.4, or 1.8 apertures. You need to keep in mind that the lower you take your aperture the more sensitive the lens becomes to any variation of depth. If I shoot a portrait of someone at 1.4 and am fairly close to them, I may end up with one eye in focus and one eye out of focus. You ll have to shoot enough with that lens to learn where the ideal comfort zone is... essentially, how far back you need to be to still achieve a sharp image when shooting that low. What to do when shooting multiple people? This is often a concern of photographers, because they want to make sure that multiple people will all be in focus. This is another situation where it is important to understand the relationship of depth of field and how close you are to your subjects. I happen to personally love the more open apertures and creating shallow depth of field images, even with multiple people. I have to be sure though, that if I m shooting a family per say, that I do the following: Pose them as much as possible so their faces are on the same plane Stand back. I must be sure that I am far enough away from them that the camera will register them on the same plane as well. If I take these two things into account I have found great success at shooting families at 5.6 or lower. Just to be safe, when learning your lens comfort zone, take some test shots, check the image on the back screen and zoom in and around the picture checking your focus on each person. The Exception to the Rule When should you disregard all those aperture groups? Personal taste. Many portrait photographers just plain love the more open apertures and shoot them exclusively despite having everything on one plane. Low light or slow shutter speeds. If you re in a low light situation and getting some slow shutter speeds as a result--and hand holding your camera consider opening up the aperture more to let in more light. page 8

9 STEPS TO SHOOTING IN MANUAL (WITH APERTURE AS OUR CONSTANT) 1. Choose which aperture (the constant) to use and set your aperture number. 2. Meter your image by pushing the shutter release button half way down. 3. Adjust the shutter speed (the variable) for a correct exposure. To do this you move the shutter speed dial until the light meter reading lines up at zero. When you meter, through the view finder you ll see a scale with a bunch of lines on either the + or side of the scale. You will move your shutter speed in the direction that will line the shutter speed up with zero. This will give you the correct exposure. If you re on the + side you will be over exposed. If you re on the side, you ll be under exposed. If you re in the middle, you should be perfectly exposed... Let zero be a starting point. You re in charge! If you want more light, move the shutter speed until the reading is on the positive side. If you want less light, move the shutter speed until the reading is on the negative side. The beauty of shooting in is that you re in control! 4. Once you have your settings ready, take the shot! 5. Congratulations! You just shot in! page 9

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