Experimenting with Depth of Field

This tutorial is based on one photograph taken at different aperture settings. It allowed to demonstrate how Depth of Field really works.

In order to practice with depth of field try finding something in line to photograph. It can be tennis or golf balls, concrete paving, a fence or anything similar.

The equipment that was used to take these photos is: a tripod (see how to use a tripod) and a cable release because longer shutter speeds were involved; and a Canon 250d camera. The ISO was set to 100.

A series of photos of the same fence, shot at different aperture shows how the depth of field increases as does the area in focus.

At aperture f4.5 the area in focus is only one or two inches and you see the background is completely blurred. As you increase the aperture, more and more becomes in focus and shutter speed gets longer.

It is a combination of ISO, shutter speed and aperture that makes an exposure of your image. These parameters correlate with each other, which means that if you leave your ISO fixed to 100 and increase aperture from 4.5 to 32, your shutter speed will be increased too.

Create a Portrait with One Light

Actually in order to make a nice portrait you don't need many lights. If you have just one light source, it is enough, providing you use several reflectors to utilize and redirect the available light.

The main light may come from a softbox, at 45 degrees angle to your subject (from above). Then you need to place a quite large reflector below the model's face to bounce the light to the face.

Secondly, you need a fill light. You can set a simple white panel on the model's side that will reflect the light from the main source back to the model.

And finally if you place a small reflector above your model's head, you will have a hair light.

Such a setup can be also used when shooting on locations.

Using Natural light for Indoor Portrait

This tutorial shows how to use natural light coming from windows for creating quality portraits indoors.

In order to manipulate the natural light you can use reflectors, diffusers and large panels. They do not require any power and never overkill the main light source.

Also if whalls are white, they reflect light well by themselves. A gold reflector can imitate a sun beam on your model's face and create a soft glow effect.

How to Make a Panorama

In order to make a panorama you do not need a fancy camera and expensive tripods. You can use your point&shoot camera that you normally use.

All you have to do is making a series of photos. Start from the left.

Hold your camera steady and at the same level horizontally. Shoot one image and turn a little bit to the right overlapping the previous photo.

Make five to seven photos.

You can use a program called ArcSoft Panorama to actually build your panorama from the images you have taken. Just start the program, select the folder where your images are located and chose the first one. The software is so smart that it recognizes the whole series of images and suggests to open all of them. When all images are loaded, the program will stich them together. Usually the output is good enough to skip any further editing. Just save a new photo and it is ready for printing.

Fill Flash as a Solution to Back Light Situation

In this tutorial Michael explains why you need to use a flash (even built in your camera) when shooting in the day light.

When your subject or model is positioned against the light source, for example the sun is behind your subject, you need to compensate the back light. Otherwise your model will be underexposed, i.e. dark, compare to the sky. It happens because the camera metering system tries to expose the sky which is a lot brighter that your subject.

If you are a beginner, set your camera to the "P" mode and have your flash open. Try shooting and you will see that your subject is exposed more relative to the sky. You may have to play with a flash compensation feature on your camera that decreases or increases your flash's output power by 1 to 2 stops. Usually you can adjust the flash power from -2 to +2. If your subject is still darker than you want, try dialing plus 1 or 2 and see how it affects its brightness.

In order to make use of your flash in back light situations, remember that your model needs to be close to your camera (flash). Otherwise the flash power will be insufficient to properly lighten the subject.