Shoot your pics wide open!

What does the title above mean to you….shooting wide open?

To me, it means photographs that are beautifully in focus around the subject I wanted to be in focus, and the rest of the photo being pleasantly blurred.

That’s just one of the advantages of shooting wide open as they say, meaning at one of your largest apertures. Next question is going to be “what’s a large aperture?”, so I’ll address that straight away!

Your camera has settings called apertures or f stops….if you select a small number on that ring around your camera lens, you’ve selected a large aperture or f stop. Conversely, if you select a large number, you will have selected a small aperture or f stop.

Some readers who are new to photography may ask, well, what exactly is an aperture? An aperture, as the word says, is exactly that, an aperture or gateway for light to travel through to your film or sensor in the camera youre using, digital or film.

The aperture is formed by a series of thin, concentric pieces of metal inside your camera, which, fold or open in response to the setting you choose when you turn that adjusting ring around the lens.

So to recap, today we’re talking about taking shots at aperture settings of f1.4, f2, f2.8 etc….all large apertures.

What shooting at these apertures does is to utilise the depth of field of your lens, which is a characteristic of all lenses, whereby subjects close by will show up in focus and others behind the subject, to its side or in front, out of focus.

That allows the person looking at your photo to concentrate on the subject rather than the background etc.

Shooting wide open can be used with portraits, street shots etc, but remember, with things like street shooting, you are taking your chances…..whatever you shoot may not contain subjects you wanted to be in focus!

Street shot showing subject in focus, but background blurred

With other subjects like portraits etc, you have plenty of time to think about what will be in focus so you can aim for that. Typically, a portrait shot in this way may for example have as its focus the person’s eyes, which will be pin-sharp, the rest of the face being blurred…fine if that’s what you wanted!

Another good subject is plants or flowers…shooting wide open will make your flower or bud show in perfect focus whilst the background will be pleasantly blurred. I find it particularly useful when shooting close up raindrops on blades of grass etc….the raindrop comes out pin-sharp with a nice, blurred green background.

Whatever, taking your shots wide open can result in superb photographs, but there are a few problems you need to be aware of.

One is that all lenses, no matter of high quality or not, will perform their worst at wide apertures. You will get vignetting, resolution fall-off, etc. Sometimes this can add value to your photo, sometimes not. A case of half-a-dozen-of-one, six-of-the-other, as they say!

There are plenty of other advantages and problems with this style of shooting….we’ll address those issues another day, but for today, this is enough to whet your appetites! Go shoot!



About filmcamera999

ME & MY PASSION! ok, you probably looked at the length of this "about me" page and thought, god, what's wrong with this guy!....does he have to start telling us his life story or something!!? well, youve come here now anyways, so why not hear what im like as a person, eh? ive been using film cameras for well over 30 first one being the family yashicamat twin lens! over the years, ive both bought sold and collected film cameras...too many to tell the truth! in fact, ive been buying and selling cameras well before the internet came on the scene, so anything you purchase from me is backed by my self-styled moneyback promise.....if you dont like what youve bought, send it back within 14 days and you get all your money arguments!! WHERE I STAND ON THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION! yes, i do use digital as well, but only as a ready-reckoner...i try and take most shots with my simple 2megapixel digicam....if the shot looks good, i pull out my film camera and shoot! i most defintely do not believe in digital manipulation of photographs....that in my eyes is not photography...its cheating! WHERE I USED TO LIVE, WHERE I AM NOW & WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO! i used to live in Ontario, Canada, but moved back to the UK a little while ago (its a long story..!)...but now i'm living in the one place i always wanted to be...Vancouver, BC..the next best thing to paradise on earth! as i work as a freelance writer as well as other things, i often find hat my work takes me to europe for short spells, so i get to travel a lot...not a blessing, as i just hate long flights! im a qualified Quality Assurance guy (you know...ISO 9000, auditing, documentation etc) ....99% of my skill-set is transferable so i can handle any admin or documentation-related roles....see you in BC! otherwise, i specialise in ISO 9000 auditing and documentation. my dream? to have my own thriving camera shop in Vancouver BC, whilst living in the mountains somewhere.....the best of both worlds!
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4 Responses to Shoot your pics wide open!

  1. paulscribbles says:

    My 50mm Pentax lens opens up to f1.4 and in use on my Me Super gives me enormous pleasure and huge latitude. It’s also the only lens I can shoot hand held when it starts to get darker.

    • hi paul!
      i have several pentax ME Super cameras…its anothe rof my favourites…superbly made and rather small for a full blown slr.
      and that lens, yes, i agree….at f1.4 the results are superb!

  2. reocochran says:

    I particularly like people shots! The close up of the woman is wonderful, the man on the street with the busy traffic interesting and all beautiful pictures of nature and birds are so nice, too! My name is Robin so I love birds, by default! TGIF!

    • hi, robin!
      thanks for looking at that post…i get so many requests to address…this was just one of them!
      as i mentioned, shooting wide open does have its problems…i will hopefully talk about that very soon.
      as it so happens, we have a robin nesting at the end of my small garden….this time of year he/she gets very feisty…every time i go anywhere nearabouts its nesting area, it flies around making a huge amount of noise…

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