F-Stop is a measure of the actual size of aperture (opening) in a wedding photography lens. Some brilliant Johannesburg wedding photographers refer to F-Stop as the F-Number or simply as the aperture setting on the camera. Fortunately it all amounts to the same concept. Wedding PhotographyAs a wedding photographer, amateur or professional you should also know that the origin of the letter F in the term F-Stop is frequently attributed to the widely respected Ansel Adams, who dedicated much time, one-third of the way into the 20th century, to developing optimum aperture settings and therefore is widely recognized for his contribution to photography and developing the acknowledged Aperture Zone System.
History aside, you’re possibly wondering what the F-Stop numbers represent? We’ll tell you that they represent a geometric progression starting at 1 where each subsequent F-Stop number greater than 1 is multiplied by a factor of approximately 1.414, (which is the power of the square root of two). Grab a calculator, enter 1, multiply it by 1.414 and you’ll obviously get 1.414 as an answer. Now multiply your answer by 1.414 again and you’ll get 2 as your answer. Do it one more time and your answer will be approximately 2.8. If you continued to do the math, you would swiftly determine the entire F-Stop range of values, I.E. 1, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 and so on until F-Stop 45 or even F-Stop 64.

Great, now that you know what the word F-Stop means mathematically and what the numbers associated with it are, you’re probably still asking yourself what these numbers actually mean and how do you apply it to becoming a better or more professional wedding photographer in Gauteng! To explain I will use an analogy of a cat’s eyes. (If you have a cat, you’ve probably noticed this several times…). When your kitty is outside and it’s a bright and sunny day, you’ll observe its pupils are long and thin and resemble tight vertical slits, but as your kitty walks into a darker indoors (very akin to moving into any dimly lit wedding reception venue), its pupils widen up to become large round discs very quickly. Now this happens so that your most loved kitty can see equally well in the different environments where the intensities of light may vary. Does any of this sound like what us wedding photographers have to go through when quickly adapting to different lighting conditions.


If we relate the above analogy to the school of wedding photography, please imagine that the cat’s pupils are akin to that of the shutter in your expensive wedding photography camera — being able to open each time you take a superb wedding photo to a lesser or to a greater extent. Hence to allow plenty light to reach the delicate image sensor in your wedding camera you would select a set an F-Stop setting (pupil size) which would not restrict the amount of light entering your digital SLR wedding camera. On the other hand if you wanted to limit the quantity of raw light entering your camera, a high F-Stop setting would be the setting to choose.


Typically and advantageously, the lower the F-Stop capability of your wedding photography lens is, the better it will serve you when the sun is going done and low light conditions present themselves. In these conditions, either flash photography immediately takes over or you’ll need to crank down your F-Stop to 2.8 or better to allow in as much might as possible into that prized wedding photograph. Also bear in mind that lowering the exposure time is not usually the answer during Gauteng wedding photography. Having an exposure time under 1/100 of a second means two things to a wedding photographer: Firstly without a fancy image stabilization you will have to be using a tripod to eliminate blurry wedding photos, and secondly, at low shutter speeds, you better make very sure your stunning wedding bride is sitting very still when she adorns you with her prize winning smile, or else you’ll be scrambling for un-sharp mask in Photoshop faster than you know. (By the way, un-sharp mask in Photoshop actually sharpens wedding photos and does an outstanding job of it may I add).

So, wedding photography may well be an art, where the sensual wedding photographer uses poise and composition to arrive at world class wedding photographs, or it might also be a combination of art and some technical knowledge for without it, the wedding photographer will not really ever know what he or she is doing, and the outcome of a good wedding photo is totally reliant on luck, and lots of it.