Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Aperture priority mode

From: Foundations of Photography: Exposure

Video: Aperture priority mode

If you have been through the Shutter Priority lesson, this lesson ought to make a lot of sense to you. We are going to talk about aperture priority. In aperture priority, I can select an aperture that I want, and when I meter, the camera will always select a corresponding shutter speed that will give me a good exposure, meaning an exposure that is neither too bright nor too dark. Changing my camera to Aperture Priority mode. If you are not sure how to do that, you ought to check out the Modes lesson. The reason I might take control of aperture is that aperture is how I control depth of field.

Aperture priority mode

If you have been through the Shutter Priority lesson, this lesson ought to make a lot of sense to you. We are going to talk about aperture priority. In aperture priority, I can select an aperture that I want, and when I meter, the camera will always select a corresponding shutter speed that will give me a good exposure, meaning an exposure that is neither too bright nor too dark. Changing my camera to Aperture Priority mode. If you are not sure how to do that, you ought to check out the Modes lesson. The reason I might take control of aperture is that aperture is how I control depth of field.

And as you have seen, depth of field is simply the measure of how much of my image is in focus. So let's take a look at our scene here. We've got three antique cameras, all at three different depths. So I can choose to shoot these in a lot of different ways. I can have them all in focus, or I can have just some of them in focus. So, the key to shooting shallow depth of field--that is, so that only some of these things will be in focus-- is to use a wide aperture. So I am going to dial my aperture down as far as it will go, to f2.8. Now the max of my aperture is going to vary from lens to lens.

On this lens, I can get it all the way open to F2.8. Now, that means that I am going to have a very shallow depth of field, meaning that after a point, things are going to be out of focus. That does not mean that my depth of field starts here at the end of my lens and maybe it goes to about here, and all of this stuff is in focus and everything after it is out of focus. Depth of field is always measured around the point of focus in your scene. So if I focus right here, and I have got this much depth of field, then only these things will be in focus. If I focus right here, and I have got this much depth of field, then all of these things are in focus.

But if I focus right here with this much depth of field, I can move that depth of field by changing my point of focus. So I could focus here and get this, or I could focus here and get this. So let's take a look at that in action. I am going to start by focusing on the center camera. So it focused. I have got my aperture dialed in to F2.8, and I am going to take the picture. And sure enough, what I have got here is my center camera is in focus, the rear camera is out of focus, the front camera is out of focus. I have got a depth of field of maybe a foot, maybe a little bit longer, and it's centered right in the middle of my scene.

Everything outside of that area to the front and back is out of focus. So now let's try shifting the focus to the front camera. Now I am going to do a little trick here that you haven't actually learned, but you can learn about in the "Foundation of Photography: Lenses" course. I am using only the center autofocus point on my camera. I configured it that way, and so I am setting focus on the front camera. Here again, I have a very shallow depth of field. My depth of field is actually as shallow as it was before, but now it's centered around the front camera, so the back two cameras are out of focus.

Let's try this again, and this time let's focus on the rear camera. Turning the wrong knob on my tripod there. There we go. So I have got that focused, line up my shot, take the picture, and t here we go. The rear camera is in focus, the front two cameras are out of focus. So that's a very simple way of shooting shallow depth of field. Now, let's look at making our depth of field little wider. I am going to change my aperture. I am going to bump it up to F8. That's several stops higher. And what that's going to do is give me a wider depth of field.

That's going to give me a depth of field about this wide. And again, if I am focused on the center, that's going to mean that maybe a little bit of this camera will be in focus, maybe the back end of this camera, and this camera will be on focus. Everything in here will be in focus. Everything out should be soft. So with my focus on the center camera, I take my shot, and sure enough, my center camera is in focus. The front and rear cameras are blurry, but they are not as blurry as they were before. My depth of field has gotten a little wider.

Now, let's say I want everything in focus. To do that, I am going to go up another stop to f11. That should give me a depth of field about this wide. And again, if I were to focus here with depth of field this wide that would mean that this camera would be on focus, and this camera would be on focus, and that one would be out focus. So I am going to be sure in focus on the center, and that should get me all of this. So my aperture is at f11. Again, larger number means smaller aperture, smaller aperture means more depth of field. That's all we are doing here.

Focus on the center, take my shot and sure enough, everything is in focus; all three cameras are in focus. You will also see that the table is sharpening up on the edges because it all fits in my depth of field. So this is the power of depth of field control. I can render some things blurry, some things sharp. This helps me control the viewer's eye. It helps me bring attention to very specific things in my image, which is at the essence of good composition. I do that by changing aperture. Now when you are ready to go out and shoot really deep depth of field or go out and shoot really shallow depth of field in trickier situations, you will need to know a few more things, and we will be covering those later.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Exposure
Foundations of Photography: Exposure

64 video lessons · 84128 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 56s
    2. What is exposure?
      4m 8s
    3. A word about camera brands
      2m 40s
  2. 9m 32s
    1. What is a camera?
      2m 53s
    2. The shutter
      3m 53s
    3. The aperture
      1m 33s
    4. Exposure defined
      1m 13s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Modes
      2m 7s
    2. Pressing the shutter button
      2m 54s
    3. Autofocus
      5m 22s
    4. Light metering
      2m 3s
    5. White balance
      1m 24s
  4. 29m 26s
    1. Shooting sharp images
      1m 58s
    2. Noting shutter speed
      4m 3s
    3. Taking control of shutter speed
      1m 30s
    4. Stop defined
      2m 50s
    5. Shutter priority mode
      4m 34s
    6. Exercise: Shutter speed
      40s
    7. Reciprocity
      3m 13s
    8. Controlling motion
      7m 8s
    9. Shutter speed increments
      2m 21s
    10. Exercise: Go work with shutter speed
      1m 9s
  5. 26m 3s
    1. Depth of field
      1m 53s
    2. How aperture is measured
      2m 42s
    3. Aperture priority mode
      4m 57s
    4. Lens speed
      53s
    5. Shooting deep depth of field
      3m 53s
    6. Shooting shallow depth of field
      2m 50s
    7. The depth-of-field preview button
      4m 24s
    8. How shallow should you be?
      2m 47s
    9. Exercise: Go work with aperture
      1m 44s
  6. 16m 26s
    1. ISO: The third exposure parameter
      6m 27s
    2. Assessing your camera's high ISO
      5m 32s
    3. Shooting in low light
      3m 32s
    4. Exercise: Shooting in low light
      55s
  7. 14m 30s
    1. White balance controls
      5m 37s
    2. Adjusting white balance manually
      4m 25s
    3. Shooting raw
      4m 28s
  8. 6m 3s
    1. How light meters work
      1m 47s
    2. Why are there different modes?
      4m 16s
  9. 33m 59s
    1. Exposure compensation
      4m 0s
    2. Intentional overexposure
      2m 40s
    3. Intentional underexposure
      1m 42s
    4. Controlling tone
      2m 31s
    5. The histogram
      10m 4s
    6. Real-world histograms
      5m 49s
    7. Tone and color
      2m 16s
    8. Auto exposure bracketing
      3m 58s
    9. Exercise: Go work with exposure compensation
      59s
  10. 12m 56s
    1. Dynamic range
      2m 24s
    2. Exposing for highlights
      4m 15s
    3. Fill flash
      3m 11s
    4. Three solutions to the same problem
      3m 6s
  11. 12m 26s
    1. Manual mode
      2m 6s
    2. Manual mode and light meters
      4m 52s
    3. Manual exposure exercise
      5m 28s
  12. 12m 1s
    1. Custom modes and A-DEP
      1m 39s
    2. Program shift
      3m 52s
    3. Exposure compensation with program shift
      1m 58s
    4. An exercise in reciprocity
      53s
    5. Scene modes and in-camera processing
      3m 39s
  13. 8m 16s
    1. Shooting with post production in mind
      3m 46s
    2. Exposure strategy
      3m 51s
    3. Goodbye
      39s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Exposure.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.