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Aperture and depth of field #photography

I mostly shoot on aperture priority and so I need to measure the light and set the ISO and then set the aperture for the depth of field that I want. That is largely a matter of judgement. If I’m taking a portrait I want a shallow depth of field and I’ll choose a wide aperture and often zoom in quite close. If I’m shooting a landscape I’ll go for a narrow aperture which will bring distant objects into better focus.

aperture priority

Judging the aperture

For this shot, I set the ISO at 200 in poor light and the aperture at f/8 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second and I got a reasonably sharp image. I mostly wanted the signage sharp and readable to publicise the shops.

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Shutter speed

I used the same ISO and aperture for this shot but managed a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second. The image seems sharper and the fast shutter speed not only freezes any movement in the frame it also removes the effect of camera shake which can be a problem when it’s really cold.

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Aperture priority

When the sun comes out the camera adjusts to a faster shutter speed on aperture priority making those shadows darker. Notice the diagonal lines in this shot that give the image depth and make it more interesting.

With a DSLR, even an entry-level one like the Nikon D3300 you have a lot more control over the camera but if you use manual or aperture priority then you have to learn to use your judgment to get really good shots. The first thing to learn which you can do with any camera is to learn about composition and look for shots with those diagonal lines that will give you a sense of depth or for objects in the frame that the eye will compare to give the image a comparative sense of depth.

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