Tiny Traveler Photography 101: Aperture and Focus!

Today in Tiny Traveler Photography 101, we’re going to zero in on one of the great challenges facing tiny travelers across the globe: focus! For those of us who pose in front of a camera, it’s important to know how to blur and sharpen the background for best effect. This is done by adjusting aperture!

Aperture, also called focal length or f-stop, decides the sharpness of your background. If you’re using a basic SLR and lens, you probably have an aperture range from 3.5 to 32. The closer to 3.5 you are, the blurrier your background will be. The closer to 32 you are, the sharper your background will be.

F-Stop: 5.0

F-Stop: 22

When to Use Lower Apertures

Lower apertures are really great when you want to POP out of the background. That’s useful when you like the shapes and colors of your background but don’t need all the details:

F-Stop: 5.0

They’re also ideal for shooting closeups, like when you discover some neat mushrooms and want your viewer to focus on the textures and not the sticks growing out of your head!

F-Stop: 5.0

When to Use Higher Apertures

Higher apertures are best when you are close to the camera but your background is far away. A high aperture bridges the gap and captures more detail, which is essential when you’re taking a selfie!

F-Stop: 22

But in general, if you’re close to the camera but want to share the spotlight with a magnificent landscape or a prominent landmark behind you, you’ll want to boost your aperture at least above 16! Just be careful! The higher your aperture, the slower your shutter speed. Steady hands or a tripod will keep your photo from being blurry!

F-Stop: 22

F-Stop: 22

Focus, Phones, and Point-and-Shoots

Not everyone has the option to adjust their aperture manually. Most phones and point-and-shoot cameras auto-focus to the targeted point and tend to go lower in aperture when there’s something close in the foreground.

Shot on iPhone 6

Fear not! If you want to get a clear background, just step a little further away from the camera. That will automatically trigger your aperture to expand too! It may take a little longer to set up than a selfie, but your image quality will go up drastically!

Also shot on iPhone 6

Worried about the wind or the giant feet of human tourists getting in your way? Not to fear! We’ll cover that in another edition of Tiny Traveler Photography 101!

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