Tag Archives: what is aperture

A Post To Explain About Aperture On Your Camera

28 Apr

If you’re just getting started with photography, there’s a high chance that you don’t know fully how to define aperture (among a few other important things in photography, which we will help you to learn about in other pages on this site). In this article I want to help you to get a good understanding about precisely what aperture is and how to best use it to get the best possible photos.

To explain in the simplest way possible, aperture is the opening and closing of your lens . Pretend you are somewhere dark taking shots. If you are using a small aperture, very little light will enter the camera. So you need to allow more light to enter your camera by opening the aperture.

It is necessary for us to understand the the numbers used to measure F stop. This determines the slice of your aperture. The smaller the F number, the wider your lens will be. To allow more light to come through, you want a smaller F stop number. With larger F stop numbers such as F stop 2, the aperture will be big. There is an directly unproportional relationship between aperture and the F stop number.

Here is a good short video (5 minutes) to explain more about what aperture is:

By choosing different F stop values, we can make different effects, for example a blurred background in a portrait photo, or a landscape photo where everything looks in focus. With an aperture of F2, your lens will be completely open. Some lenses can go down to F1.4 and let lots of light in, which is perfect for low light situations.

As you increase the F number the size of the opening gets much smaller. Bigger numbers mean smaller openings and Smaller numbers mean larger openings.

To change this setting on your camera, change the dial on the top left of your camera to A or AV. This means the camera is in Aperture mode. This setting is semi-automatic, meaning you pick the F stop number and your camera will calculate the shutter speed and ISO for you.

If you can afford them, prime lenses which can go as low as F1.4 can really be worth the extra money, particularly for portrait work.

For blurred backgrounds, use lower F numbers (like 2.8 for example). As you increase the F stop number to F 4.5 or F 9, you will notice the background getting less blurry. This can also take the viewer’s attention away from the main subject, so for portrait shots you would probably be best off choosing smaller F numbers. For landscapes, groups of people and so on, you will want to work with larger F stop values.

The camera should be set on auto focus single (not auto focus auto) to prevent your camera from deciding what to focus on, which is not what we want in this case.

So, now that you’ve read this article you should understand how to define aperture going forward, as well as how to use it when taking your photos.

There is another good article about aperture on the photography life website hereImage