Welcome back.  So now we all know what the 3 main elements to achieving the perfect photograph are, we will look at each element in depth.  This blog will focus (pardon the pun!) on aperture.  Aperture is the most talked about setting as this can an extra dimension to your photograph by blurring out the background and really making your subject stand out.


So in simple terms, aperture is the hole within a lens. through which light travels into the camera.

The diagram demonstrates the size of aperture against the f/stop setting.  The easiest way to think about it is to think of the human eye, a large pupil equals a large aperture and a small pupil equals a small aperture.  The f-numbers are simply a way of describing the size of the aperture.  The thing that seems to catch people out is that the a smaller f-stop equals a larger aperture!  We are used to larger numbers representing larger values.


So now we know what the aperture is, what impact does this have on our photographs.  The important thing is remember is that whatever aperture setting we choose will have a direct impact on the depth of field.  The depth of field is the area which is in focus, the larger the aperture the smaller the depth of field.


It is worth noting that every lens has its limitations on how small or large the aperture can be set.   There are two types of lenses, a fixed (or prime) lens and a zoom lens (most compact digital cameras have zoom lenses).   Just to confuse matters, many zoom lenses have variable apertures, which means when zooming it will increase the f-stop to a higher number.  If you want more information on lenses, please just let me know!


Now you know the basics around apertures, are you ready to move off the green button and give it a whirl?

The aperture setting differs for the different camera types, so you may have to look in the manual if you cannot identify it.

Canon models – Av

Nikon models – A

Sony models – A            (some models may vary)

Are you ready!  Now change your camera to the Aperture Priority mode, once you have done this, one of the main control dials close to the shutter button will adjust your aperture setting.

(Many compact digital cameras do have have an aperture priority mode but you may have to work through the menus to adjust this).

Remember your f-stops / depth of field, get out there and shoot.

Try shooting the same item on different settings and look how they differ.

Lower f-stops are great for portraits and higher f-stops for landscapes.

If it is quite dark and your shutter speed is slowing down and causing your images to blur, either use a tripod or increase the ISO value.

REMEMBER – you won’t see any of this in your viewfinder (or on your screen as you’re composing!).

The settings for this image are – 70mm, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/640

The iso is low due to it being a bright sunny day, low aperture means a blurred background (and some flowers in the foreground) with lots of light being let into your camera, this has has pushed up the shutter speed to a fast 1/640 sec.  (70mm lens)

If you fully zoom in on your subject (even on an iphone) this should blur your background even more.

The settings for this image are – 18mm, ISO 200, f/16, 1/800

This iso is low due to the bright sunshine, high aperture makes the sun (or any light source) appear like a starburst and more of the image is in focus, with a fast shutter speed of 1/800 sec (18mm lens)

I hope you’ve found this blog interesting.  Let me know how you get on, please leave a comment below.

Next Chapters:-

Shutter Speed

Composition & Light

and more…

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