If you have ever shopped for a flash or read a review, you may have noticed a section of the spec called the guide number or GN. While this value is a measurement of power that the flash has and allows you to compare flash models, is this number useful to you at all? In this article we dig into the guide number and see how we can use this number help us dial in our flash and camera settings using some math instead of just guessing and retrying until you get what you want.
Although you may think that no two situations are alike, the fact is that there are quite a few constants that you can rely on to give you a good starting point. The sun is one of these things you can count on to be consistent. Of course there are things that affect the sun’s output like the time of day, haze, fog, and clouds, but on a bright sunny day the light output is very consistent and knowing the camera settings for this condition will give you a guideline to make adjustments. This is where the “sunny 16” rule comes into play.
As part of our Photography Basics series we talked about Exposure already and this time we are going to cover the mystery of aperture. Aperture is probably the least understood setting of everything on your camera. While shutter settings are very easy to understand, to long of a shutter speed and you will get blurring, pretty simple stuff. Same with ISO, too high of ISO and you introduce digital noise. But learning how to use aperture properly can kill brain cells faster than a frat house kegger party.
One thing that seems to baffle a lot of new photographers is understanding the term “stop” as it pertains to a measurement of light. We see this word used over and over with regards to shutter speed, aperture, film speed, filters, lighting, and other ways that light is used. You may hear a phrase like “you should expose one side of face 1-2 stops under the lit side of the face and expose the background 1 stop under the main subject”. For many people that’s about like asking them to solve a complex calculus problem.
We are beginning a series we are going to call photography basics to help explore the basics of digital photography. While the focus is on digital photography, all of the concepts will apply whether you are shooting film or digital. In this first installment we are going to look at how to control exposure by manipulating the different settings on the camera such as ISO, Shutter, and Aperture. Upcoming installments will focus on other areas such as depth of field, motion control, and specific shooting scenarios.
A common issue some people have is getting their images to portray a sense of movement. Today we are going to look at how adjusting our shutter speed can help achieve the desired look that we want. For this simple example we will look at a ceiling fan taken at different shutter speeds so you can see how adjusting the shutter speed through an entire typical range can help you achieve the exact look you are aiming for.
While today’s cameras do a pretty good job when in fully automatic mode, in order to make the most of your camera you should learn how to use your camera on the manual setting. To go full manual you will need to have an understanding of shutter speed, aperture settings, and ISO speed. In this article we will get you going and get you shooting like a pro.