DSLR Basics: F-Stop

Hey y’all!! Thanks for coming back to the third lesson of DSLR Basics (to review you can find lesson 1 here and lesson 2 here). Today we are talking all about f-stop and how to use it to your advantage. This setting is my personal favorite, but it can be a little tricky so stick with me. 

First the techy stuff: The f-stop number, or aperture, controls how wide open or closed your lens is. This, in turn, controls how much light is let into your camera + the depth of field for the image. 

Photo Credit: Everyday Eye Candy

Photo Credit: Everyday Eye Candy

So with f-stop: the lower the number, the brighter the image, and the shallower the depth of field. The higher the number, the darker the image, and the deeper the depth of field. 

So what does this mean? 

Unlike ISO, when choosing your f-stop you have to consider what you are shooting alongside with where you are shooting. For example, if you are trying to capture a landscape or large group family photo, chances are you are going to want a high f-stop in order to make sure the entire image is crisp + clear. If you are shooting an individual portrait and you want a creamy background, you are going to want a lower f-stop so that your subject is in focus, but nothing else is. 

I, personally, live for creamy backgrounds so I find myself shooting wide open more often than not. Most of my portraits are done at f2.0 and I rarely come off that stop except for bridal party portraits and family formals. My sister, Lisa, however is constantly shooting her home and needs a higher f-stop, therefore most of her images are done at f16. The f-stop setting allows you to develop your own personal style so play around with it and feel out what you like best! 

That’s all for f-stop, so maybe I lied and it’s not that tricky. ;) If you want to practice f-stop only you can set your camera in aperture priority mode and you can choose the f-stop and it will choose everything else for you. But only until tomorrow, before you have the final piece and will be ready to rock it out in full manual!