Gosh, What’s Aperture?

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

I am going to try to keep this easy, all right?

There’s no need for you to close this site, pack your things and flee to a secluded island.

Don’t let the aperture scare you!

Actually, the aperture is a good friend, it can serve your needs quite magically.

If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, you don’t even have to worry about anything – the camera does it all for you. But if you’re a ‘big’ DSLR camera user, then you might want to have a look into the magical world of the aperture.

So, what is that aperture?

Basically, it is the hole in you lens, or the eye of your camera – opening and closing as you wish.

See? I told you it’s not difficult.

And what does that hole/aperture do?

Well, primarily, there are two types of situations when the aperture can serve you well.

First, when the light conditions in the place where you’re taking photographs are not so good (low-light situations) you can open the aperture wide thus letting more light into your camera allowing it to work more effectively.

And the other kind of situation, the one that I am actually demonstrating here with the pictures, is using the aperture opening to influence the depth of your photographs.

Come, have a look at what I mean, there are plenty of examples here…

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

This is where I demonstrate the depth of the photograph (people usually call that the ‘depth-of-field’).

The picture on the left-hand side has the front subject in sharp focus while the subjects in the background are out of focus. This is called the ‘shallow depth-of-field’. It is so aptly named – you see shallow, you don’t see deep.

On the other hand, the picture on the right-hand side can be described as one with the ‘great depth-of-field’. See? It really is deep – the subject in the foreground is almost of the same sharpness as the ones in the background.

And you know what?

It’s under your control to decide what kind of picture you want to take – whether it’s the shallow one or the deep one.

Isn’t that awesome?

And yes, it has something to do with the numbers I’ve pasted into the pictures.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

The ‘f/number’ that I’ve pasted into the pictures for you is meant to describe the aperture setting I had used while taking the particular picture. In photography, the ‘f’, or ‘f-stop’ or ‘f-number’ is used when the aperture is being discussed.

To practice the control over your camera’s aperture, all you need to do is to search you camera manual and find the little article on the aperture.

Once you find it and learn where that little button is, just do this: go for the lowest numbers (like 2 in my picture) if you want the shallow depth-of-field and go for the highest numbers (like 22 in my picture) if you want the ‘deep’, all-focused pics.

Your lowest and highest numbers might be different than mine since lenses differ in this aspect.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

So what’s this again?

Petra?

Deep or shallow?

Yes, it’s deep, because I had my camera set at a high number – 22 in this case – making everything from the foreground to the background being in focus.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

This is another example.

Three happy apples posing just for you.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

The front apple is enjoying the focal attention while his friends are standing in the background being out of focus.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Here, all three apples enjoy being in focus.

I’d call this picture ‘One for all, all for one’.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Here, some peas also want you to see what the aperture is all about.

That’s so kind of them.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

Low number – shallow depth-of-field.

There are times when you want to isolate your subject…when you want it to be in sharp focus while having the background out of focus. Portraits or food photos are good examples of these situations.

what is aperture, explanation, tutorial with images

High number – great depth-of-field.

There are different situations when you’ll definitely want to have as many details in focus as possible. Just imagine taking a picture of a landscape, for instance, with all its trees, animals, hills, river, clouds…everything crisp and clear.

Note: I really need to let you know of this fact – the smaller the f-number the wider is the aperture opening. A little technical detail that you can remember or forget right now. I give you the permission.

I hope this all made at least a little sense and was of some help.

I wish you a lot of fun while playing with your aperture.

Go and have fun!

See you soon.

Love,

Petra