London School of Photography Blog

Tag Student


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Analogue, Aperture, Blog, Cameras, Creative, deep, Equipment, Focus, Lenses, Light, News, Newsletter, Photo, Photographer, Photography, Resources, Settings, shallow, Student, Techniques, Tips, Workshop

Getting to grips with Aperture 


For most of us, taking that first step in switching to the dreaded Manual Mode on your camera can seem ludicrous. Why on earth should I switch to Manual Mode, when the camera can easily take a picture for me? Why should I even leave Auto Mode, for that matter? If it’s there, why can’t I use it.  

Well, you can, but may not end up with a photo you were hoping for. Once you understand that taking a photo is basically exposing light to a sensor, or film, you are halfway there. Last month we spoke about the holy trinity of photography that is the Exposure Triangle, the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.  

And I call it the holy trinity, because these three elements work together. They depend on each other, and we combine them in such a way so when we hit that shutter release, the amount of light hitting that sensor or film is just right to get you a “good exposure.” And I put good exposure in quotation marks, because exposure really depends on whether you are happy with the result. Confused yet?  

Basically, ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture (or f stop) do exactly the same thing. They control how much of that light hits the sensor. ISO, the film or sensor speed, does that by being either too sensitive to light, (ISO 3200), or not very sensitive (ISO 50). When shooting analogue, you won’t get very far if you don’t put a film in the camera, so you choose the right ISO for the light conditions. If it’s too bright, you use a less sensitive ISO (lower number) like 50, or 100. If it’s cloudy you use a more sensitive film (higher number) like 400, and the darker it gets the more sensitive film you will need.  

This is the same with digital cameras. Before we start shooting, we check the light and set our ISO speed accordingly.  

This month’s focus (no pun intended) is the aperture. Found in your lens, (not the camera) the aperture basically does the same job that the Iris in your eyes does. If it’s too bright it closes, and if it’s too dark it opens. The wider the aperture can open, the more expensive the lens usually is, so now you know why some lenses are ridiculously expensive. 

Aperture is measured in F-stops like f1.2, f5.6, f11, etc. The lower the number the wider the aperture, and more light will hit the sensor, or film, so an aperture of f1.2 is extremely open, and an aperture of f32 is tiny. Think about it like this: Small number, big hole, big number, small hole.  

So when we expose, we can choose to let in more or less light hit our sensor or film by opening and closing the aperture, just like a tap of water filling up a bucket. The more you open the tap, the more water runs out, and vice versa.  

Now, you are probably wondering what setting to use when you expose. If ISO, aperture, and shutter speed all do the same thing I.e. controlling the light that hits our sensor or film, what do we prioritise on? When do we use aperture? When do we use shutter speed?  

Well, we will be talking about shutter speed in the next article, but when it comes to aperture, apart from controlling the amount of light that hits the sensor, it also does something else that is quite magical: It controls how much of the area behind and in front of your subject is in focus. You might have noticed that landscape shots are always sharp, showing the entire scene in focus, while the background in portrait shots is usually blurry in an effort to isolate the subject you are photographing from anything distracting in the background.  

This control of the sharpness of the foreground and background is called depth of field, and the aperture is the tool with which we control that depth of field. The wider the aperture (low number, bigger hole, like f1.2) the blurrier the background will be, and the smaller the aperture (high number, small hole, f32) the sharper the background will be.  

In other words, if you are shooting landscapes, you would be better off setting a smaller aperture, like f16 or f22, in order to make sure that the entire scene you are capturing is sharp, whereas if you are shooting portraits, you should really set a wider aperture like f2.8, f3.5 or f4 to try and blur the background and lead the viewer’s eye straight to your subject. 

One thing to remember, however, is that zooming in and out with your lens, as well as the physical distance between you and your subject, also affects how blurry or sharp your background will be. The closer you are physically and by zooming in with your lens, the blurrier the background will be, and the further away you are physically and by zooming out, the sharper the background will be.  

A great way to see how apertures work is to click on this link to see how the aperture works on this canon exposure simulator, and to get to grips with exposure check out our Digital Photography workshops. Have fun!   

Advice from LSP Trainer Derek Lomas

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Blog, Cameras, Creative, Derek Lomas, Digital, Equipment, Famous, Interview, L'Oreal, Light, London, Photo, Photo Books, Photographer, Product Photography, Resources, Settings, Student, Techniques, Tips, Workshop

Derek Lomas is living proof that it’s never too late to start photography as a career. The LSP Product Photography trainer worked for four years as a shipping clerk after leaving school, and he hated every minute of it.  

So he joined an evening photography course and he hasn’t look back since. With clients like L’Oréal and Yves Saint Laurent, Derek is now an established photographer with an incredible portfolio, and was eager to share some of his experiences, and offer some tips to our students.  

Read More

Lens Culture: 2017 Street Photography Awards

Tags: , , , , , Competition, Contest, Lens Culture, Resources, Student, Techniques No comments

LensCulture has announced the winners of the 2017 Street Photography Awards. With entries into various genres of the art like street portraits, urban culture, street fashion and many more, the competition aimed at “discovering today’s finest photographers capturing exceptional moments of life in all of its vibrant forms.” LensCulture went as far as to waive entry fees for those entering a single image in an effort to discover the most talented image-makers, adding that every photographer deserves the opportunity for exposure and recognition without restriction.

Announcing the winners, LensCulture said the competition was started with the idea of recognizing fresh approaches to the genre, hoping to support and encourage this invaluable manner of helping us visualise and understand the surrounding world.

We believe the 37 winners, jurors’ picks and finalists chosen here represent some of the most interesting approaches to street photography today,” the press release published the online magazine’s site said.

Quietly observed beauty, in-your-face confrontation, deeply personal narratives and idiosyncratic, even humorous perspectives—across all of these varied works, the language of the street is being used to tell all kinds of stories in original and innovative ways.

First place in the series category went to Hakan Simsek of Belgium with his “Out of Breath,” photos. Second place was awarded to Spanish photographer Alberte A. Pereira for his series “Fragments,” with third place going to Italian snapper Antonio Privitera for his work entitled “La Nostalgia.”

The winner in the fantastic single image category is Moin Ahmed from Bangladesh with his stunning photo entitled “The Man’s Stare.”

Second place went to Artyt Lerdrakmongkol from Thailand with an image he called “Little Onions,” and third place went to Ilan Burla from Israel for his “Dog Fun” photo.

Keep up to date with our blog to find out when next year’s competition is announed. In the meantime you can find out about current and upcoming competitions on their site

Understanding natural light

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Creative, Digital, Fine Art, Light, Newsletter, Photo, Photographer, Photography, Resources, Student, Techniques, Tips, Workshop No comments

If you want to be a great cook, you need to know your ingredients, your spices and your seasoning. If we were to compare photography to cooking, then the spice of the art is in the word. PHOTOGRAPHY. Two Greek words Phos and grafo, light and to write. So photography (fotografia) is literally writing or painting with light.

Read More

Jessica Jager, former LSP student, wins Wedding Photography Award

Tags: , , , , , , , Awards, Love, Photographer, Photography, Student, Uncategorized, Wedding, Workshop

We are proud to announce that former LSP student Jessica Jager has won the 2017 Wedisson award for best wedding photography with her photo of a couple on the beach. Here, she talks about her love of photography, and breaking into and succeeding in a very competitive but at the same time rewarding market.

This image is from a sunset beach photo shoot, which is easily the most relaxed and fun shoot I’ve ever done

Read More

London Museum of Photography to open in 2018

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Books, Community, History, London, Museum, Photo, Photo Books, Photography, Resources, Student, Tips

A Swedish gallery is set to open a centre for photography in London in the second half of 2018.

Fotografiska, who runs the world renowned photography museum in Stockholm has announced that it has pre-let premises at Whitechapel High Street, where it is to house the  London Museum of Photography.

Read More

Photo Books You Need to Read #3 – 75 Years, the very best of LIFE

Tags: , , , , , , , , , Books, Famous, History, Life, Life Magazine, Photo Books, Photography, Resources, Student, Tips No comments

To see Life; to see the world.”

If one were to show you a photograph of a Sailor kissing a nurse during the celebrations of the end of World War II, you would smile and say, “sure, I know that photo!” As a matter of fact, if you know the photo, it’s probably because it was published in LIFE.

Read More

Silvia Maggi, LSP former student, exhibiting at Retina Scottish Photography Festival

Tags: , , , , Awards, Exhibition, Photographer, Photography, Student No comments

“Ever since my uncle gifted me with a compact film camera, in my early teens, I have always had a camera with me.

Photography became increasingly important for me, transitioning from a way to document holidays to a way to express myself, particularly during difficult times. Read More

Photography Mailing List

Join our Newsletter