Mrs. ShuGar’s Snapshots: Photography Class Homework #3

My Camera

So, I have some splaining to do (ode to Ricky from “I Love Lucy”)!  I have lagged in my photography class photos because life just got really busy and I was still trying to figure out how to do these actual assignments.  I wanted to make sure I understood all about aperture and shutter speed before I blogged about it. That said, I am excited to present to you my last photography class assignments in the next few blog posts.  If you want to follow along my photography journey, please begin here.

This next homework assignment was all about exploring focus, specifically known as depth of field, and how to use aperture to manipulate it.  As usual, we were asked to put our camera in manual mode and play around with the different settings. So much harder than you think!

So, one of the rad things about aperture levels is how it can affect your depth of field and regulate what you want and don’t want to be in focus.

Personally, I think photos with less depth of focus (only focus on the foreground or background) are super pretty.  Allow me to show you.

In these photos above, I have put my aperture at a high number (closing down the aperture) so everything in the frame is pretty much in focus and it’s more of a landscape type of photo.  I wanted to make sure the hose and the bike were minimally in focus, even when I set my settings to focus on only one of the aforementioned objects. With a high aperture number, the majority of your picture will be in focus, regardless if you try to focus only on one subject in the photo.  Nevertheless, I am not really showcasing any one item, therefore the overall scenery is the subject.

Watch what happens when I lower the aperture (opening up the aperture)!

Above I am solely focusing on the hose and the background is out of focus; hence, less depth of field.

In the picture above, notice the foreground is now out of focus, but the bike is in focus.  This is still a shallow depth of field, but I changed my focus point.

What I love about less depth of field is you can actually showcase what is most important in the photo.  In picture #3, the hose is clearly the star of the photo. All else is simply background blur.  It makes the hose look super awesome because we give it the spotlight.  Less aperture works wonders for shots where you want to centralize the attention on a particular subject.

Yet, there are many times when everything in your frame needs to be in focus, especially when you capture nature scenes or a group photo, etc.  Everything in the picture is vital and so you should use a higher aperture number to create more depth of field.

For my next photo class assignment, I will share all I learned about shutter speed.  As a teaser, you can adjust shutter speed to create those cool blurry images of movement or if you want to freeze the action altogether. Stay tuned for more photo fun!

This weekend I plan on walking around with my camera and seeing what inspires me. I hope you all have a funtastical weekend!

Photo credit: all photos Mrs. ShuGar   

  • Great photos and tips – I need to learn a LOT!!

    • Glad to have helped! I’m by far not an expert, but I love sharing what I have learned. Stay tuned for more! Photography is SUPER hard so have patience. I say this to myself as well =)

  • cool stuff! i have never learned photography and just play around with it myself. but i know i should learn to do it right! that’s neat that you are taking classes! great techniques!!

    • Awesome! I honestly thought you were an expert photographer. Your pics are super rad! You could probably teach me. I think you have a natural talent. Now, you just have to learn the technical terms, but I’m sure you’ve got it. I’ll share more of what I’ve learned. I’ve got lots more to learn along the way. There’s soooo much!

  • You explain everything so well! I love when there’s a lower depth of field. There’s something so captivating and mysterious about that background blur 🙂 Looking forward to hearing about more of your photo classes!

    • Thanks, Christy! I love lower depth of field too. It makes things look dreamy. If you have a lens that allows you to open the lens even further, then that’s super pretty. Lens are so expensive, though, but they are worth it when you can get that perfect focus with the background blur. Glad to share what I know!

  • Wow I’d love to learn more about photography like this, great explanations here! How long have you been doing the class?

    • Yay! I’m happy I could help make sense of it all. It’s really challenging and one good photo comes from many bad ones. I took my class for six weeks, but I am done now. I am now learning on my own by reading tips on my photography pinterest board. Feel free to follow along. I will also continue to post what I learn. I am a work in progress because it’s so hard but I love it!

  • Pete

    You’re such a quick study! Looks like a pro!

    • Mrs. ShuGar

      Thanks, Nene! I have you to thank!