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Camera Settings: Aperture and Shutter Speed

Selecting Shutter Speed

Snoqualmie Falls - Shooting with a Slow Shutter Speed and Tripod
Snoqualmie Falls
Shooting with a Slow Shutter Speed and Tripod
© Jim Miotke 2002
All Rights Reserved
Jumping for Joy - Shooting with a Fast Shutter Speed to Catch Action
Jumping for Joy
Shooting with a Fast Shutter Speed to Catch Action
© Jim Miotke 2002
All Rights Reserved

If you need to catch action without blurring movement, use a faster shutter speed (higher number). If you wanted to blur any movement, such as the flowing of a stream or the traveling of automobile lights at night, use a slow shutter speed (lower number) and set your camera on a tripod. You may also want to use a small aperture (and, thus, a slower shutter speed), as long as your subject is static and unlikely to move, in order to get the most depth-of-field.

Selecting F-stop

Abbey Interior - Bigger F-number = Bigger Depth of Field
Abbey Interior
Bigger F-number = Bigger Depth of Field
© Jim Miotke 2002
All Rights Reserved
A Home Among the Lavender Fields - Smaller F-number = Smaller Depth of Field
A Home Among the Lavender Fields
Smaller F-number = Smaller Depth of Field
© Jim Miotke 2002
All Rights Reserved

Although the photographic guides have usually made this a complicated issue, it is really very simple.

The only thing you need to understand is how f-stops effect depth-of-field - the range of what remains in focus on the finished image.

Bigger f-stop numbers create bigger depth-of-field (and, thus, more of everything in the picture remaining in focus).

Smaller f-stop numbers dramatically reduce depth-of-field (and, thus, focus attention on the subject within the overall picture). Forget all that hoopla about how larger numbers means smaller apertures and openings.

The only thing you have to remember is that bigger number equals bigger depth-of-field and smaller number equates smaller depth-of-field.

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