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If you’re able to grasp Aperture you place in your hands genuine artistic control over your digital camera. Aperture happens to be where a great deal of the magic takes place in photography and also as we will come to see here, alterations in it could mean the difference between one-dimensional and multi-dimensional shots.


What exactly is Aperture?

simply put – Aperture happens to be ‘the hole inside the lens.’

Once you push the shutter release button of the digital camera a hole opens which enables the cameras photo sensing unit to get a glimpse of the shot you are planning to take. The aperture which you set affects the dimensions of the hole. The larger the opening the greater amount of light that enters.

Aperture is actually determined in ‘f-stops’. Often you will find them described as f/number – for instance f/2.8, f/4, f/8,f/22 and so on. Shifting from one f-stop to another increases or decreases the dimensions of the lens’s opening (as well as the volume of light making it through). Bear in mind that an adjustment in the speed of the shutter from one-stop to another doubles or halves the volume of light that enters also – meaning should you decrease one and increase the other you allow the very same volume of light in – quite helpful to know).

One thing which can cause a lot of confusion to new photographers is the fact that wide apertures ( where a lot of light enters ) have smaller f/stop numbers, while narrow apertures ( where little light enters ) come with larger f/stop numbers. Thus f/2.8 is a much wider aperture than f/22. It may seem the wrong-way around when you initially hear it, however you will get used to it.

Intro to Aperture


Aperture and Depth of Field

Depth of Field (DOF) is actually the portion of the shot that’s in focus. A larger DOF means the majority of the photo will likely stay in focus whether it is close to the camera or far-away. Shallow (or small ) DOF means that just a portion of the image should be in focus while the rest should be fuzzy ( You can see an exmaple of the deffernce between small and large depth of field in the image below ).

Intro to Aperture

Aperture has a huge impact on Depth of Field. A large Aperture ( smaller numbers ) will reduce depth of field whilst small Aperture ( a larger number ) will provide you with larger DOF.
Choose your Aperture settings based on the type of shot you want to take. As an example, in landscape photography you will notice small Aperture settings ( large numbers ) chosen by photographers. This guarantees relative focus from the foreground all the way to the horizon.

In portrait photography on the other hand, it always is useful to get your subject matter completely in focus, but with a nice blurry background to make sure that your subject matter is the primary focal point, and also that the other elements in the photo aren’t distracting. In this situation you would select a large Aperture setting ( small number ) ensuring a shallow DOF.

Macro photographers are big users of large Apertures. This is to ensure that the subject matter that they’re focusing on completely catches the attention of those who are viewing their images while the remainder of the photo is totally thrown out-of-focus.

The best way to understand how Aperture works, would be to go outdoors and look for an area where you have objects near to you plus far-away and start shooting with various Aperture settings from smallest to largest. you will quickly start to see the impact it will have, and also the advantages of having the ability to manage Aperture.

Hope you found this intro to Aperture in Digital Photography useful. Make sure to also check-out our intro to ISO and also intro to Shutter Speed.

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