Exposure, Aperture… what?

Now that the weather in Scotland has decided to behave and it’s been really sunny, I’ve decided that it’s about time that I got my butt into gear and finally learn how to use my new digital camera that I bought a few months ago. I haven’t really had time to play around with all the settings because I’ve been too caught up with work and other things, but I’m now making the time.

I bought a book called Digital Photography Step By Step which gives you great information about Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed. But to be honest, I’m a little like a deer in the headlights at the moment. With my previous camera, a normal compact digital camera, I only had to point & shoot. Sure, I played around with the limited settings, perfected them and looking at my Flickr account, my old trusty Sony did me well!

But it’s time to grow up! If my budget had allowed it, I would have bought a Canon Camera, especially since one of my childhood best friends is a professional photographer and swears by them. Unfortunately, my bank card would have cried and set itself on fire if I did buy one so I bought a camera with great reviews ‘Panasonic Lumix FZ45 14.1MP’ within my budget & I’m happy with it.

Now the hard work begins! I no longer want to use auto settings or point and shoot. I want to be able to play with the Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed and take great photos. I love photography. I love taking photos of buildings, animals and nature, finding the time to take them is one thing, finding the time to take photos and learn how on earth to use all the settings is another thing!

I know that Exposure, Aperture and Shutter Speed mean, I get them. What I don’t get it what the numbers *should* be, what are the perfect settings? I’m sure it will take time to get them right but I’m a very stubborn person and get really annoyed if I can’t figure it out fast enough!

That’s where you come in, yes you! To save me from beating myself up, what are your perfect settings for taking photographs? (Auto is a no no!) What kind of photos do you like taking? What camera do you have?

Comments

  1. says

    Your new camera looks great – I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it. For what it’s worth, I think your photos, especially your food ones, already look pretty good. It just goes to show that you can get great results with a simple camera – a fancy camera will give you more control, but the person behind the lens is still most important in getting a good picture. Here’s my take on exposure, aperture etc.

    Exposure means how much light there is in your picture. A ‘well-exposed’ photo is not too light or dark so that you don’t lose any of the detail. But a photo doesn’t have to be well-exposed – you may want it to be very dark, or light, to achieve the effect you want.

    You can control the exposure with the aperture and shutter speed. Aperture is the size of the hole that allows light through the lens onto the light detector (film, or CCD). The bigger the hole, the more light (and the smaller the aperture number, so f2 is larger than f22). A physical effect of changing the aperture is that a larger aperture has a smaller area that will be in focus in the picture, what they call a narrow ‘depth of field’, so everything else is out of focus. This is great as a creative tool, especially in portraits or food photos!

    The shutter speed also controls exposure. If the shutter speed is short e.g. 1/1000 of a second, then less light comes in. But you can capture a sharp image, good for sports, actions etc. If the shutter speed is longer e.g. 2 seconds, you need something to steady your camera such as a tripod, or you will blur the picture. Moving objects in the picture may also blur, but again, you might want that!

    Hope that makes some kind of sense! Just experiment and have fun. Picking the right photo, and composing it well is half the battle to a great photo. Here’s some of mine, I haven’t updated it for a while but you get the idea.

    Sorry, I had added links to photos to illustrate these points, but the blog says my comment was ‘too spammy’ with them!

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