Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Started Jul 10, 2010 | Discussions
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goodlucksdk Regular Member • Posts: 404
Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

I was wondering which aperture everybody shoots at in a studio setting.

Outdoor I like 4.0, 5.6 and 8.0, depending on the setting but don't really know what to use indoors with strobes etc.

John Deerfield Senior Member • Posts: 2,598
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

This is a strange question. It really all boils down to: what am I taking a picture of and how do I want it to look. And that is really going to vary so there isn't any one magic aperture. A single portrait is very different from a group portrait which in turn is very different than a product shot. And product shots vary all over the place! How do you want the image to look is the key question, then use you knowledge of lighting and aperture to go about achieving it.

slowhands Veteran Member • Posts: 5,470
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Photography is HARD.
YOU have to make decisions, assess the results and adjust if necessary.

Until YOU learn to provide ALL the necessary details about exactly what YOU are asking, we can only ASSume the unprovided details, and that might not yeald useful answers for YOUR situation, no?

What kind of studio? you did not say

What are the subjects? Figurines that fit in a hand or football players or automobiles?
What light power? you do have a light meter?
What shutter speed?

Can your camera sync to studio lights at that shutter speed, and if not, how can you compensate?
What ISO?
What DOF do YOU want?
What distance from the subject will you be shooting from? (this affects DOF)
What does your client want?

See? LOTS of things for a photographer to think about when they get off "P" mode.

Consider joining a local photo club to start understanding the basics

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goodlucksdk OP Regular Member • Posts: 404
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

YOU seem to like to use the word YOU a lot. lol

Lawrence Keeney
Lawrence Keeney Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

I believe what slowhands is trying to show is that it all depends on what YOU want out of the shot.

If I am photographing a single small flower, I want my DOF filed to be very shallow, and because of this I open the lens up as wide as it will go.

This same setting when doing a close-up shot of a models face would probably leave her nose and ears out of focus, if I had focused on her eyes as I normally do.

For general photography in the studio of full length shots of models, I shoot somewhere between f5/6 and f/8.
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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 20,836
Depends on the subject -- f8

I like f8, but will change from that if I need more or less depth of field.

With larger format cameras, I use smaller apertures, again depending onthe subject.\

\BAK

lumigraphics Senior Member • Posts: 2,007
Re: Depends on the subject -- f8

I tend to shoot at around f/11 to f/13 most of the time with strobes, FWIW.

Lawrence Keeney
Lawrence Keeney Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Depends on the subject -- f8

Do you find an advantage in shooting so stopped down?

I just did some very unscientific tests when I first set up my studio, and it looked like f/8 would work for me. I haven't experimented with the lens stopped down much further.

lumigraphics wrote:

I tend to shoot at around f/11 to f/13 most of the time with strobes, FWIW.

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Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,151
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Depends on the circumstances, but in general I like about 4 to 5.6 for portraits, more like 11 or 16 for still life or product.

Gato

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lumigraphics Senior Member • Posts: 2,007
Re: Depends on the subject -- f8

I have fewer problems with getting good DOF, I'm mostly shooting models and like everything sharp. I shoot a lot more open outdoors.

Lawrence Keeney wrote:
Do you find an advantage in shooting so stopped down?

I just did some very unscientific tests when I first set up my studio, and it looked like f/8 would work for me. I haven't experimented with the lens stopped down much further.

lumigraphics wrote:

I tend to shoot at around f/11 to f/13 most of the time with strobes, FWIW.

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colesf Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: Depends on the subject -- f8

It's like someone asking what color shoes they should wear.

Benwellhopper Contributing Member • Posts: 548
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Its the same aperture you use outside for the style you want, Its just that you have more control with strobes than having to factoring in the sun, Though you have to remember your shutter speeds or it will be curtains.
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yvind Strm Veteran Member • Posts: 4,130
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Hello

All you need to know is how the different apertures affect Depth-Of-Field (DOF) with your camera (varies with film/sensor size) and lenses. Simplified, you get more DOF with smaller sensors and with shorter lenses (wide).

Choosing the aperture depends on how you want the sharpness to be. Shallow, to empasize something, or large, to have everythig sharp?

To me, controlling sharpness (through the use of proper aperture) is one of the tools for controling how the eyes of the viewer moves in the image.

goodlucksdk wrote:

I was wondering which aperture everybody shoots at in a studio setting.

Outdoor I like 4.0, 5.6 and 8.0, depending on the setting but don't really know what to use indoors with strobes etc.

Quantum Help Senior Member • Posts: 1,666
Re: Depends on the subject -- f8

The answer is simple, no need for " Oh, should I use this, or should I try that. "

Use the f/stop that will produce the depth of field that you want / need. Period.

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goodlucksdk OP Regular Member • Posts: 404
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Well see you gave me the answer I was looking for so thanks. Slowhands on the other hand came accross quite condenscending with remarks such as "until you learn" etc and I ultimately also did not find any value in his response.

Paul Auclair Veteran Member • Posts: 3,889
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

from what others have wrote here and from your own experience you can safely assume there can be infinite possibilities/reasons to select camera settings per shoot if you really want spend the time thinking that way.
don't sweat it....

DOF/hyper-focal distance are simple enough 'rules/ideas?' to grasp. desired(artsy) outcome is next consideration.

aperture partly controls amount of light entering camera and DOF (what's in and out of acceptable focus). you isolate subject, or parts of subject from itself, using aperture. if you have enough/surplus of light then light is not a consideration. you have clean high ISO anyways so light is really not an issue.

i see you use(d) a 5D so you are shooting full frame.
i use 4/3.
basically smaller formats 'show' more DOF.
just a ball park scenario to help explain DOF difference between format sizes.

if i (small sensor) shoot a face straight on (head shoulders crop) 8 feet away at f5.6 focusing on eyes, i'd have the tip of nose, eyes and ears all in an acceptable range of focus.
with your FF (larger sensor) camera you wouldn't find all three features are at

the same high level of acceptable focus. you'd have to move back or stop down and add light to get my camera's levels of focus (DOF).

(just for fun..think of this) if i were to move/shoot a couple feet closer to subject and keeping everything the same i'd find that the the three features are no longer all as 'sharp' as before. the tip of nose would be out of acceptable focus.

So,

typically for portraits i set aperture to get eyes/ears/nose in focus but not background. because i have plenty of power i set my lights according to desired aperture. when i did not have the surplus light i had to set aperture according to how much i had to work with.
with my small sensor format (and all the light i need) i use between 5.6 and 8.
i'd guess with a larger sensor like your's i'd need 8 or 11 to get same DOF.

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Thanks,
Paul

goodlucksdk OP Regular Member • Posts: 404
Re: Right Aperture For Indoor Studio Shooting

Thanks Paul for taking the time and sharing your knowledge and I agree with what you say. I actually did do a studio shoot lately. There was a professional photographer instructing us he told us to use between 8 and 11. When reviewing the photos I liked the ones I shot at 5.6 most, but in that case the head of the model was not in complete focus.

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