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How to use Aperture in Photography

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

Aperture! One of my favorites but let's talk about How to use Aperture in Photography.

First of all this long-winded explanation of Aperture may be more than you would like to deal with right now... no worries.

Here is my video explaining Aperture in just 2 minutes!

Hey Photo World here we are on another Fundamental Friday’s episode and I am so excited to bring us back to the basics of Aperture. Many of you already know that aperture plays a big part in depth of field and I am only going to scratch the surface on that piece to the aperture puzzle. Today I am really dialing back and walking us through the basics of aperture. Simply put it is the opening in the lens. Furthermore, it is adjustable by you the photographer. There are many cameras out there where you would have a fixed aperture however I am speaking to those of you who are DSLR, hybrid, or mirrorless shooters. Basically, those who have full manual options to make exposure changes. Your aperture is the opening in the lens and the part that allows for that to be adjustable are a set of blades coming together making a larger or smaller hole. The numeric value assigned to each step or "Stop" is referred to as the F-number or F-stops.

Example of full stops:

F1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32, f45, f64

F-number… Aperture… blades… the hole in a lens…

What does all this mean?

Well, what aperture is designed for is – regulating how much light passes through the lens and therefore how much or how little of the scene is being projected onto the film or digital sensor.

The F-number tells us a few things:

1) the smaller the F-number (like f2.8) the bigger the opening in the lens and therefore more light passing through.

2) the larger the F-number (like f22) the smaller the opening in the lens and therefore less light passing through.

3) Aperture affects the Depth of Field – small aperture (large F-number) the longer the DOF/large aperture (small F-number) the shorter the DOF.

Again and just like Shutter Speed, this is one-third of the exposure triangle. (the 3 main settings that determine our exposure for an image)

Shutter – how long the picture is taken

Aperture – how much light is passing through the lens

ISO - … tune in next week (episode 63) to find out how this triangle is completed!

I also discuss how Aperture affects Depth of Field however I have that topic set aside for a future  Fundamental Friday’s episode.

Hey, Photo World pros! Comment down below to help out the newer photographers joining the Photo World!

Stay Cool and Happy Shooting!


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