If there is one question that is asked by my assistant's on every job it would be this, "What f-stop do you want to shoot"? The answer to that question depends on many different factors, like if I want everything in focus or just a small element in my image; does my subject have great skin or does he or she have problem skin? Is the focus of my shot the person or something they are wearing? After I determine what the focus of my assignment is I can decide what F-stop is best for my shoot to achieve the look and feel I'm going for.
Yesterday I had an assignment where the focus was the jewelry. Last week I had a shoot where the focus was the nails. In one situations I needed to focus on the product but in the other I needed to focus on the subject and the jewelry.
Earlier this week I had a shoot with a client and the client was the focus. I want her to be the focus of these images so I decided to shoot wide open to keep the background from competing with my subject. This shoot was on location with only natural light so I choose to use a 70-200 zoom lens and shoot at the widest aperture, which is 2.8 on the Sony lens. By shooting wide open I can drop the background out of focus and bring the viewers attention to the eyes of my subject. The reading was F2.8 @ 1/500 but I could have shot at 5.6 @ 125 (which is the same expose as F2.8 @ 1/500) If I'd decided to shoot at 5.6 @ 1/125 instead of wide open at 2.8 @1/500 I would have had more of my background in focus and taking the attention away from my subject.
For more lessons on lighting check out my latest video on complex lighting available now.
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