Which f-Stop Should I Use?


Due to the rain, this class will meet on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, instead of the originally scheduled Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
1:00 - 3:30 pm
One 2½ hour session.


$25 for one seminar.  Register here.


This is a hands-on type of class for beginning, intermediate, and seasoned photographers. You just need to have a camera, DSLR or point and shoot, that has f-stop controls (manual (M) or aperture (A) mode.)


"Which f-stop should I use?" This is one of the most commonly asked questions that hear from fellow photographers. It's no surprise. Depth of Field (DOF) is a mystery, since you really can't see it in the viewfinder of your camera. No matter if you're just beginning or a seasoned pro, this is a question you should always ask yourself when you put that camera to your eye. There really is no right answer since it's your storytelling, you need be the judge of what the best f-stop is. That's because photography is a visual way of communicating, a means of telling a story, and all great stories have a central character. In photography, we call that the 'subject.' Like all great storytelling, in photography we must set the stage for that subject, while at the same time making the subject stand out for our audience to connect with.

In this field trip we'll look at various scenes, and ask ourselves, "what do we want to be the subject and how do we want it to show in the story?" From there we can figure out the f-stop that best isolates the subject or shows the subject in its environment. The choice of how to tell the story is yours, and understanding the effect that f-stop (aperture) has on the DOF will help you tell that story most effectively.

Subject isolated: Large f-stop (f 2.8)

Subject in its environment: Small f-stop (f 16)


  • Learn how to tell stories with your photos
  • Learn what f-stops are
  • Learn how to choose the proper f-stops to create the images you want


Doug Miller

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