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New Photographers…Your Second Assignment

Wow, this has been too long since we wrote a post for photographers. It is our goal to help those who need it and want it. We remember being so excited about photography, getting our first DSLR camera, and although we tried to learn quickly we couldn’t find a lot of resources to help us take the type of images we wanted. If we are being honest, our images were awful. We were shooting in “P” mode (stands for Professional, right?) and we couldn’t figure out why the images were super dark, or super bright, or why they looked “flat” in general. Well the camera does not make the picture, the photographer does. Crazy…I know.

So hopefully you have read and completed the “FIRST ASSIGNMENT.” If not, please do so before continuing otherwise this may not make complete sense.

In the first assignment we had you shooting “wide open” (as wide an aperture as possible. In this case it was a 1.8 with the 50mm lens). There are many technical aspects to this, but the main concept is that the WIDER the aperture = the SMALLER the number and = MORE light comes in. So raise the number (not as wide open) from a 1.8 to a 2.8 it will essentially make the image darker. So here is your second assignment.

1 – Complete Assignment One. This helps you learn how to shoot in “Manual” mode (not P mode, haha!!!)

2 – Don’t change your ISO (should be at 100) . You are outside still taking a picture of something in your back yard. Unless it is nearing sunset there is plenty of light and no need to raise your ISO at this point.

3 – Stay where you are and take another picture of the same object (fruit tree, flower, child, ect…), but this time change your aperture from 1.8 to 2.8. This allows less light into the camera. Don’t change anything else yet, just notice the difference between the 1.8 and the 2.8 picture.

4 – Now you need to compensate for this. Your image is considered “under exposed.” Exposure in its simplest form is the combination of aperture, ISO, and shutter-speed. You compensate by lowering the shutter-speed. Since we closed the aperture allowing less light in, now we need to s-l-o-w down the shutter to allow more light in. Keep slowing down the shutter-speed (ex: from 1/1250 to 1/800) until the overall exposure of the image simulates that of the original image from Assignment One.

5 – CONGRATS! You should now see a little bit of the relationship between aperture and shutter-speed. Yes, the third component is ISO, but for most photographs being taken outside that is always set as low as possible: 100. Once you move inside to take pictures, ISO will become a greater factor…more on that later ;)

Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to share this post with your friends or family that may need it!!!!!!

Here are Canon’s 50mm lens options: From left to right: 50mm 1.8 ($129); 50mm 1.4 ($349) and the 50mm 1.2 ($1650).

The “1.2” refers to the lowest possible aperture with that lens.

***update – you do not need all three of the lenses below. If you are just starting the cheapest option is probably best…but the main difference between these lenses is the quality. So if you can afford the 1.4 over the 1.8 Go for it!!! Same thing with the 1.2 ;)

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Sonja Gregg

Hey! I REALLY am thankful for you guys and other pros sharing your knowledge! Q: I have a 50 1.4, would I benefit from a 1.8? Or, would that be redundant?

Jeremy Schmucker

Hey Sonja ;) Yes that would be redundant. The 50 1.4 is a MUCH better lens and does have that option of a lower aperture (which does create that more beautiful bokeh, more on that later, lol). If you are looking for another portrait lens I HIGHLY recommend the 85mm 1.8. It is a gorgeous lens and the skin tones are to die for. I think we have a blog post about that lens too if you search for it. Hope that helps and we will see you soon!!!

Jeremy Schmucker

to clarify yet again – the 1.4 can do everything the 1.8 can…but the 1.8 cannot do everything the 1.4 can since it’s aperture is limited to only 1.4. Does that make sense? Maybe sometime soon we will do a review/critique of all three lenses…but if you have the 1.4 you are good to go. Many pros actually prefer that over the 1.2 ;)

Jeremy Schmucker

to clarify yet again – the 1.4 can do everything the 1.8 can…but the 1.8 cannot do everything the 1.4 can since it’s aperture is limited to only 1.8. Does that make sense? Maybe sometime soon we will do a review/critique of all three lenses…but if you have the 1.4 you are good to go. Many pros actually prefer that over the 1.2 ;)

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