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F-Stop: The Art of Focus

This is my favorite feature in manual! All of my most magical photos come from using this feature.

Go ahead and find out how to adjust the F-Stop on your camera.

To break it down in simple terms, your f-stop controls how much is in focus (also called field of view or focal length).

Here's what you need to know:

The lower the number, the less is in focus.

The higher the number, the more is in focus.

Exposure tip:

The lower the number, the more light comes in (makes your photo brighter - so you can lower that ISO!)

The higher the number, the less light comes in (might have to increase the ISO, or lower the shutter speed to great enough light).

1. When to Use a Low F-Stop

A low f-stop is fantastic for close ups (for humans, still life, and very still animals).

Here are some examples of what you can create with a low f-stop:

Note how the backgrounds are out of focus. That's because the depth of field is small (low f-stop number), so only the person is in focus.

This out of focus background is also called a "bokeh" by photographers who like to sound fancy and use less words.

In this next photo, you can see how small the depth of field is because the foreground is out of focus. The blurry colors in the front are fall leaves I put in front of my camera. If the leaves were in focus, it wouldn't be quite as pretty.

If you were wondering how to create a pretty blurry light look, now you know!

2. When to Use a High F-Stop

High F-stops are good to use when you want more in focus. A good time to increase the f-stop, is when your background/landscape is the star (or co-star) of your moment.

In the photo above, we wanted to capture the city of Charlotte because that is where Taylor and Olando met.

Amy and Alex specifically chose their wedding venue because of the beautiful nature that surrounded them.

I didn't quite get all of the grand canyon in focus, but I like it like that. It shows how infinite it feels when you're there.

There you have it!

When you are practicing, come back to this blog and look at the exposure tips listed in the beginning. Those will help.

I hope this helps you master how to use your camera's f-stop, so you can take magnificent photos of the life around you.

~ Alisha

- what is f.stop - what is aperture - what is focal length - what is field of view - how to photograph a portrait - portrait tips - headshot tips - landscape photography tips - manual settings tutorial - how to use manual camera dslr settings

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