Metering: Which Setting Should I Use and When?

In-Camera Metering - how and when

In-Camera Metering - how and when

We all know the rule of thumb to shoot an outdoor portrait in the shade —  to avoid harsh lighting and shadows. But a common problem occurs if you have any sunny areas in your frame: a properly exposed sunny background but an overexposed subject. I’m sure you’ve all seen it before: a subject under a shady tree that looks dark while the sky behind the subject is the right shade of blue (if only you were going for a portrait of the sky, but unfortunately, you weren’t). This problem is easily remedied with an understanding of your in-camera light meter. Continue reading “Metering: Which Setting Should I Use and When?”

Zoom Lenses vs. Fixed Lenses

Zoom lens vs prime lens

Zoom lens vs prime lens

First off, another name for a fixed-length lens is a prime lens, but don’t let that throw you off…. If you want a sharp picture you must use a fixed lens. End of story.

Just kidding. I probably got a few people in a huff there. But you will come across people who swear by fixed lenses and those who swear by zoom lenses. I own and use both. It really comes down to personal preference. My personal preference changes depending on what I’m photographing and what mood I’m in. Continue reading “Zoom Lenses vs. Fixed Lenses”

ISO: Collecting Light

ISO Collecting Light
To put it simply, the ISO you set on your camera affects the sensor’s sensitivity to light. ISO really relates to film, and on our digital cameras we technically have ISO equivalents. If you want all the big words and math related to it, read about film speed on Wikipedia.

ISO is an often ignored factor in achieving proper exposure. I find the following analogy helpful in understanding ISO: Continue reading “ISO: Collecting Light”

Shutter Speed: Take Control


Shutter Speed

Fast Shutter Speed

Let’s say you’re taking pictures at your friend’s second cousin’s kid’s best friend’s baseball game (when people see you have a nice camera, things like that happen).  This would be a great time to take advantage of your ability to control the shutter speed. Setting the shutter speed determines how long the shutter is open. The longer the shutter is open the more light comes through to reach the sensor. Continue reading “Shutter Speed: Take Control”

Understanding Aperture: the Key to Being Artistic

f/5.6 Aperture Example
f/5.6 Aperture Example
f/5.6 Aperture Example / Photo by Rachael Olson

People often ask me how to get a blurry background. Something about a blurry background makes people think “professional”.

First, if you want to sound cool, call it bokeh (pronounced: boke-uh), which means “haze” or “blur” in Japanese.

Next, you need to understand depth of field. This way, you don’t let in just enough light, but instead you control depth of field to achieve what you want artistically. Continue reading “Understanding Aperture: the Key to Being Artistic”