Three Ps Photography Workshop Series News September 2015

October 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

From James

In the last edition of Workshop Series News we started our journey back to basics with a brief look at the first element of the exposure triangle- shutter speed. This month we will look at the next element- aperture. In Gadget Talk we have a look at the Aputure Trigmaster Plus II off camera flash trigger.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the next 
Studio Fundamentals photography workshop has been cancelled. The next studio fundamentals workshop will be in 2016. I apologies for any inconvenience. The 31 October 2015 Getting Off Auto photography workshop is currently booking. You can see them in the "Workshop release dates and booking" section below.

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Back to Basics

Last month I mentioned my beginner workshop "Getting Off Auto", how I talk about the process of photography and the most critical elements being exposure and the exposure triangle. I also introduced the first element of the exposure triangle, Shutter. Let's move to the next element which is Aperture.

Like shutter, aperture is a mechanical element which means that adjusting it will not effect the quality of the image in relation to grain (digital noise.) Aperture plays a key role in the creative process. It can act like a window by opening and closing to let more of less light in while at the same time effect the overall depth of an image. As a photographer it will be up to you to decide if you would like a blurred background as in some portraits or everything in focus as in landscape images. The trade off will be how much or how little light you need to let in and this may also effect your creative decision.

Shallow Depth of Field (DOF)

When we talk about shallow depth of field (DOF) we think about those lovely portraits where the background is blurred and the subject is nice and sharp allowing the photographer to separate the subject from the background. The shallowest DOF is governed by the widest aperture of your lens and will be inscribed somewhere on the lens barrel. Most entry level zoom lenses may have a range eg f/3.5-f/5.6, while prime and high end zoom lenses will have a fixed aperture eg f/2.8. This means that it's the largest aperture you can achieve with your lens. If we look at an aperture of f/2.8, this will give us the largest opening (most light) however a very shallow depth to the image.

Because we're getting the maximum amount of light on the sensor, we can use a faster shutter speed allowing us to freeze motion and reduce camera shake.
Deep Depth of Field (DOF)

At the other end of the spectrum, when we talk about deep DOF we think about those amazing landscapes where most of the scene is in or close to focus. You may also notice another type of blur in these images, motion blur. You know the streaming water fall or misty looking water on a harbour, it's indirectly because of a small aperture. At the smallest, in general we think of about f/22 and even small in some cases. So why is it that water becomes misty and water falls stream? Because the opening is so small, it lets in less light and to compensate we need to keep the shutter open longer to bring the exposure back up.

It's when you get to this end of the range that you may start to push the shutter speed a little and need to support the camera on a tripod or similar to reduce camera shake.

Let's recap, the smaller the number (f/2.8,) the shallower the DOF (but more light) and the larger the number (f/22,) the deeper the DOF (but less light.)

Project time: Mount your camera on a tripod and have someone (or something) stand in front as your subject. In aperture priority set the aperture as low as possible (f/2.8) and take an image observing the shutter speed, then do the same at the highest aperture (f/22.) You can also step through the aperture range to view the effect.

Quick tip: Shoot single person portraits between f/2.8 and f/5.6 and for landscape shoot at between f/11 and f/22 depending on the range of the image. Also a shutter speed of 1/4sec should be sufficient the blur a waterfall but try it for yourself.

Next month I will talk about the last element of the exposure triangle, the ISO and the balance of the exposure triangle.

Gadget talk!

Whether I am doing a shoot on location or working in studio I carry a set of triggers with me in my camera in case I need to get creative or if something unforeseen happens. I wanted to tell you about my triggers and why I chose them. I use Aputure Trigmaster PLus II triggers. I have been using them for about 18 months in many different environments and was put on to them by Peter Munro who use to own Pro World. Peter is now at Kayell Australia after they acquired Pro World. They have always been reliable and I really like the solid construction. My request was simple. I wanted a good quality, reliable trigger system that didn't cost me a lot of money.

Here are some specs:
Signal range 500m and 1000m in relay mode
Flash sync up to 1/320 sec (depending on camera brand)
Triggers can be setup in up to 4 groups (allowing you to isolate flashes)
6 channels are available (so you don't get caught by others on the same frequency)
Universal with speed lights or studio strobes
Trigger camera and flash remotely simultaneously. Yes it fires your camera remotely

There is not a lot you can say about triggers other then reliability is the key and these unit have never let me down. Oh yeah, there is a flip up antenna however I have never needed to raise it for better signal.

You will learn how to use these triggers when you participate in my 
Light and Posing workshop. If you're looking for a good quality trigger at an economical price these triggers are definitely worth considering. Check them out at The Kayell Australia Website.

Workshop release dates and booking

Please click on any of the workshops below for more information and to book.

Coffee anyone.
What's Coming up

Next month we will be looking at the ISO and how to best utilise all three elements of the exposure triangle to achieve the best results. In future editions we'll demystify tonal range and discuss Raw V Jpeg. Moving forward we'll also look at focus points and exposure metering. Don't forget to book you next workshop to learn a whole lot more and get more from your creative journey. Watch out for future editions and be sure to share you passion with others.

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