Seven years ago, when I first began my journey into photography, my husband gifted me with the cheap but fantastic Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.
It rocked my world! I loved it.
I opened up that aperture wide and was suddenly able to capture those beautiful compressed backgrounds and bokeh I’d been craving. It was exciting!
But as I studied more about the exposure triangle – how the variables of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO associate to determine the exposure of a photograph – I realized that I wasn’t using my lens to its entire capacity nor was my photography growing and improving to its full potential.
Wrapping my head around the exposure triangle was tricky for me at first. But with lots of practice, changing my camera settings became second nature. I want to share not only the settings on a few of my photographs, but the brief story behind them and WHY I chose the aperture I did.
Helpful hint: When starting to work with aperture, begin by shooting in aperture priority mode. Set your aperture and keep your eye on the shutter speed. If it’s too fast then bring the ISO down. If the shutter speed is too slow then bring the ISO up.
Example 1: f/2
This is one of my all time personal favorite photographs. I was quickly brushing through my hair after a shower when I spied my naked baby in the mirror playing with the roll of toilet paper – classic babyhood!
I hastily shut off the lights, opened the blinds on a window, and sprinted for my camera halfway across the house. On my way back to the bathroom, I quickly adjusted my camera settings.
I’d shot in that bathroom before and knew it was relatively dark. That morning, there happened to be wildfire smoke covering much of the sun, making the light coming through the window weaker than usual.
My goal was to achieve a shutter speed of 1/250 or more in order to freeze his moving arms and hands. Because of the relative darkness, I raised my ISO to 3200 and set my aperture to f/2 to let in more light. The combination of those two variables made my shutter speed 1/320.
I sat down on the floor and got about four shots in before the baby lost interest and the moment was over. Fortunately, I got this keeper of a photograph!