Turn your aperture dial to help direct the audience

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/800

A shallow depth-of-field like ƒ/1.4 that I used here is a great way to force the audience to look where you want them to see.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 14400, ƒ/11, 1/100

Now using a deep depth-of-field like ƒ/11 as I did here really helps keep the eye moving all through the frame.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/500

Don’t fall in love with an ƒ-stop. Use what helps you for that moment. The danger of always shooting ƒ/1.4 for example is that you really are not giving context to your subject.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

Here I used ƒ/4 which was just enough depth-of-field to show the lady’s kitchen and her cooking.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

The point here is that you just don’t turn the ƒ-stop/aperture from one end to the other. Use just enough to help you show that which you need the viewer to see. Again the ƒ/4 was adequate enough while shooting with the 24mm to capture the rest of the kitchen.

Why ƒ/1.4 isn’t always best or one angle the best

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 320, ƒ/4, 1/250

How often do you photograph the same subject, but try and mix it up?

I find many young photographers who have their lenses apertures glued to the wide open to give the really shallow depth of field photos.

Maybe by just closing down the aperture to ƒ/14 verses ƒ/4 can give your photos a little more relevance as to what is going on in the photograph.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/14, 1/250

Notice here how the greater depth of field helps you know this is outside a church. Well trying to say this is a photo about Easter Sunday really needed in my opinion a little more depth of field.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/140

I was photographing Tenebrae: Service of Darkness on Good Friday at my church. Now because I sat down near the front I ended up with the microphone right on the minister’s nose. Not really all that flattering.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/250

Now on Easter Sunday I sat in the balcony and was able to get a much better photo of the minister at the podium.

Remember to move around and find those perspectives that help keep the photo on message with little distractions as possible.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/4.8, 1/250

Now no matter where you choose to shoot from and what aperture you still need to pay attention to the best moment.

Here I think the photo with the minister’s arms open wide is a much better photo than the one below here.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/4.4, 1/250

It takes you a little while to see her hands here and the message isn’t as clear.

Tips to remember:

  • Shoot a variety of apertures–not just wide open or closed down
  • Look for different camera angles
  • Work the aperture/angle that you picked for the best moment