A Simpler Take On Aperture & Shutter Speed

I remember getting my hands on my first DSLR and I thought "What in God's name does all this mean?" So I opted out and switched my camera dials a couple clicks counter clockwise until the "portrait" setting was turned on. I took a couple pictures and I liked the results...now this only lasted a whole day until I switched it to aperture priority. Now understand when I got my camera I was brand new, didn't know a thing, I just knew I wanted to use it, I didn't even know what dial I even set it to, I just thought I ad more control(to know later I actually didn't). For the longest time, let's say anywhere from six months to a year I was just kind of shooting right along with friends and family, now really knowing the basics, so long story short, HEY! We all start at the same spot...

For those of you that don't know I have a Youtube channel dedicated to photography lessons and tid bits. In my last episode I spoke about combining shutter speed with aperture in a simpler version. Often times we get confused between the shutter speed scale, not knowing which is the right shutter speed or not, and then also getting confused with the aperture scale, now knowing which number to choose. Now, the thing about photography is it's all subjective, I share my knowledge in a way that people can learn from, not all people because not everyone shoots what I shoot, or not everyone will understand my teaching methods. But let's take an easier approach...What is shutter speed? Shutter speed is the time it takes for the opening & closing of the shutter curtain, which means how slow or fast the shutter is open for. Aperture is a combination of two things, one is depth of field(the blur effect) and also the amount of light it lets in. There are a lot of technical stuff that goes into everything I just said but the truth is you just need to know the basics, and then go shoot, your repetition will teach you an you will learn from it. 

My rule of thumb is simple, ask yourself two questions; the first is what are you shooting? This can be a person, place or thing. The reason why you want to ask yourself this question is because it will set you up for your next question which is what are you going to do with it? The first question might seem a little redundant or odd but the point I am trying to get at is you don't want to get in the habit of just pointing and shooting. There needs to be subconscious decision before taking the next action, which is the second question. You need to figure out the technical side of photography before you can make that decision, this will create the aesthetic. I had two instructors back in school that I thank very much for to this day. One instructor was the subconscious decision maker, he would make you think about the significance of this image before you take the shot, and the second instructor was the technical guy. He thought you all the glorious things you needed to know to create the magic! Think about that....

You have read my rule of thumb so now let's act upon it. Here it goes, set your aperture first and let shutter speed take care of the rest. This applies with just about anything in my personal opinion, not necessarily talking about flash photography. But if you want to know the basics, and create a general, awesome foundation for you portfolio, do as I say. It' simple, aperture determines depth of field as well as determines a portion of how much light you let in. Shutter speed is to determine speed of which you want the shot to be taken as well as give you a basic even exposure depending on your aperture. If you can nail those two descriptors you can go far in your portfolio, now I am a portrait photographer, I have a portraiture mind set, this is not always the case especially if you are doing time lapse photography just remember that, also photography is subjective remember?!  

So from a portraiture mindset, set your aperture first, and let shutter speed take care of the rest.  

What the Heck's ISO?!

What is Shutter Speed