using F/8 aperature workshops

Photo Tip: #52: 2 4 6 f/8 Who do we appreciate?

For those who insist on shooting in manual mode and for those who can't seem to get a handle on it, some bad advice has been floating around. One of the worst is to just put it on f/8. Seriously? If you should just put your camera to f/ anything in manual mode, why not just shoot in Aperture priority?

Suggesting that a photographer just shoot at f/8 is a fundamental failure to understand the sweet spot, or rather it is an over simplification of sweet spot (see our post next month on understanding the sweet spot) which means you may or may not actually be hitting the sweet spot. It also defeats the entire purpose of shooting in manual mode; the argument for which is[ostensibly] to be truly aware and in control of your settings as to make a conscientious decision based on your desired image and therefore truly optimizing your camera's capabilities. (Wow, that was a mouthful!)

Lastly, by leaving it in f/8, the advice does not in any way, shape, or form address your shutter speed problem. Unless you are shooting in ideal lighting conditions, and by the way sunrise and sunset are not ideal (for look yes for volume no), you are going to have slow shutter speed problems, unless you are willing to move your ISO or shoot in auto ISO which again defeats the purpose of shooting in manual mode.

So no, just shoot at f/8 is not the answer! What is the right f/stop to use? There is no single answer to this question. It just depends on what you are photographing and what you hope to achieve in your photograph. Join us for a photo safari and we will show you the variations!