What is aperture in photography?

February 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

      In the most straightforward terms, the aperture is the amount of light let in from the lens. Just remember, when you change your aperture on a camera, you are changing the F-stop. It often happens these two terms get confused, thinking they are separate functions on a camera. For example, if you think of your tv remote, the power button would be the aperture and, all the numbers on the keypad are the different f-stops you can choose to use. Great, you know that aperture merely controls all of the f-stops on your camera.



  • Aperture refers to how much light goes through the lens of a camera.
  •  Remember, Aperture and F-stop are the same. Aperture is the name for all the f-stops. 
  • Each f-stop starting with the lowest f1.4 will open the lens to its largest position to let in the most light yet give the most shallow depth of field. The highest f-stop, say like f22, will close the lens position to its smallest. Hence will let in much less light yet creating a considerable depth of field.


Understanding Aperture and F-Stop


     With the knowledge of controlling the aperture, you will have the creative ability to choose the depth of field in your pictures. Let's step into the Aperture pool feet first. You are in the shallow end, two feet deep, so this would be f2 on your camera, not much depth of field, right. Your subject will be in focus, and your background soft and out of focus. As you move deeper into the aperture pool, you are now four feet deep, f4 on your camera, even more depth of field. You move to the deep end F8, F9, and F10 in the aperture pool. You are treading water now, and if you are shooting the sunset, you will need a tripod at these higher f stops to keep everything in your viewfinder in focus. Remember, once you get to the f stops in the double digits, the opening in your lens narrows significantly, letting in less light. Which will force you to slow your shutter speed and maybe even increase your ISO. Now, this is just one leg of the photography knowledge tripod. You will need shutter speed and ISO, and you will complete the tripod's three legs and know what it takes technically to make an impactful image.



Why make a change in the aperture of your camera?


     Well, this is the big question? Peter Adams once said, "Great photography is about the depth of feeling, not the depth of field." It's now your choice which f-stop you will decide to use. Seeing emotions build in front of your viewfinder is what makes a great photograph. However, it is your f-stop that will direct your audience on where to look at your pictures. For example, with portrait photography, you will most likely use a lower f-stop, somewhere between f1.4 to 4.5. In this range, the background behind the subject will be soft and out of focus, bokeh. Just remember, if you are shooting around f1.4, make it a priority to keep your subject's eyes sharp and in focus, which is good practice in any portrait. Let's jump to a higher f-stop something in the range of f11 to f22. Most landscape photographers live in this range. Just keep in mind if you are shooting sunrise or sunset at that magical time called the golden hour. You will need a tripod to support your camera so your image will stay in focus, and due to less light at these times, you will need to slow your shutter speed down to keep your exposure level correct. If you don't have a tripod, you can increase the iso on your camera.




     Aperture is just controlling which f-stop you will choose and how much depth of field you would like to see in a picture. You are now the photographer, and you will find endless pages on the internet about photography rules. In the end, if you can capture an image that is interesting and captivating and you love it, that is all that matters. 



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