My name is Amy and I am a photographer from Australia. I started photography about ten years ago and I remember it was really confusing. The difficulty was knowing exactly what information was really important and how to bring it all together to create some stunning images. If this sounds like familiar then please read on. I have some free tips for you to help make sense of what you need to know and what you don’t.
Let’s begin with shutter speed and aperture. You may know that shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open. With a long shutter speed you can create streaks of movement, blur your images and take lovely night photos. Fast shutter speeds can also freeze movement. If you want to make it look like a ball is suspended in mid air then a very fast shutter speed is what you need. Shutter speed controls movement through the length of time is opens and closes. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it?
Aperture is not only called f stop but it controls depth of field. In case you are unfamiliar with what this means it relates to how much of your image is in focus. If you want lots of sharpness into the distance, like a landscape photo, then you chose a high number f stop, such as F22. If you want to photograph someone’s eyes for example, and blur the rest of the face, then you need to use a short depth of field. A short depth of field can be created by using large f stop numbers such as F 5.6 or F 4 and so on.
But what most beginner photographers don’t know is how to use them both to get sharp and beautiful photos. Light is actually your first and foremost consideration. After that comes your shutter speed and aperture. You use shutter speed to control light coming into your lens (exposure) and aperture for depth of field. Read that sentence again. If you want well exposed, sharp images, then use shutter speed for letting light in (or reducing light) and your f stop number for depth of field. This is how you effectively use both together.
If you use aperture (f stop) for letting in more light then you risk altering your depth of field. If you want sharpness all the way in to the distance it’s good to use smaller f stops such as F 11 and upwards through to F45. A smaller f stop will cut out some of the light but you can compensate for this by using a slower shutter speed. If your shutter speed is too slow then you will run the risk of camera shake. Please use a tripod to stop this from happening.
So there you have it! Shutter speed controls movement and time. Aperture controls depth of field. Both control exposure but they must be used in the right way to get the best results.