Again, a special thanks to Sam Hassas for stepping in last week! Great post, Sam!
One of the principles of family photojournalism is including context/surroundings for your subject. So using the widest aperture settings for your lenses is not always best. In fact, sometimes, using a very wide aperture can lessen the impact of a shot. However, there are times when shooting 'wide open' (at the maximum aperture of a lens) is necessary to get the shot. Other times, you might just want to isolate your subject in order to highlight they way they looked that day.
I shoot almost exclusively with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/1.4 (Canon 24L/35L/85L). I generally use f/1.4 for two reasons: 1. In low light when I do not want to use flash. 2. To isolate my subject from a distracting background.
f/1.4 IN LOW LIGHT: I shoot in low light A LOT...like MOST OF THE TIME (my house is small and dark)! So for me, lenses with an f/1.4 opening is almost necessary. Shooting available light allows me I to capture the mood of a situation by shooting with the existing light of the scene. Often times, the result is how the scene actually looked.
There was very little light in this scene...in fact, it was just a small sliver of light that was peering through the curtains. I metered for that light and exposed at 1/50th, f/1.4, ISO1600. 35L.
Lit by one single overhead bulb. My youngest 'reading' before bedtime. Exposure was 1/40th, f/1.4, ISO 1600. 35L
Only light in the room was the TV. I wanted a slower shutter speed on this one to capture the motion of the Wii play. Exposure was 1/40th, f/2, ISO3200. 24L
Early morning light coming through my front window. Exposure was 1/125th, f/1.4, ISO1600. 35L
Only light source was the overhead light in the bunk bed. VERY dark. Exposure was 1/80th, f/1.6, ISO3200. 24L
f/1.4 TO ISOLATE: Sometimes the background is UGLY! Using a lens that opens to f/1.4 can help!
I wasnt a fan of all of the trees in the background of this one, so I opened my aperture in order to isolate the subjects. Exposure was 1/500th, f/2, ISO800. 35L
Loved the halloween outfit, so I wanted to show it off a bit! Exposure was 1/100th, f/1.4, ISO800. 35L
Busy background :( Exposure was 1/4000th, f/2, ISO200. 35L
Lenses with a maximum aperture can be expensive, BUT they do not have to be! Most camera manufacturers make 50mm options with a f/1.4 opening that are affordable. Also, check out the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens.
Thanks all for checking in!