Aperture And How It Will Effect Your Images

Ok, so the last blog i posted, i wrote about how your exposure effects your image. There are 3 main things that will effect your exposure.. these are your Aperture, Shutter Speed and your ISO.

To make this blog NOT be 10 pages long, i'm just gonna go into detail in this one about your aperture. Again, i'm sure this is nothing new to many people, but hopefully it'll help bring clarity if you need it on this topic!

An aperture is a hole or opening through which light is admitted. The aperture stops in a photographoc lens, can be adjusted to control the amount of light that reaches the digital sensor or film in the camera. In combination with the shutter speed, the aperture regulates the film’s degree of exposure to light.

If I want more light in my photo, I can choose to open the aperture wider and if I want less light, I can choose for it to open smaller. The diameter of the aperture is measured in f-stops. It took me while to get used to the fact that the lower the F number, the wider the aperature opens and the higher the F stop, the smaller the aperature opens, letting in less light.

© Siloto
The size of the aperture is one factor that effects depth of field. Smaller stops produce longer DOF, allowing objects at a wide range of distances to all be in focus at the same time. If I want to throw the background out of focus, I use a larger aperture e.g. F4 or F8.

While we are talking about aperture settings, it is good to know about shooting in aperture priority mode. This is a semi automatic mode. It allows me to choose the aperture setting and the camera automatically sets the shutter speed for correct exposure. This is sometimes referred to as Aperture Priority Auto Exposure, A mode, Av mode, or semi-auto mode.

When looking at lenses, they include the minimum and maximum apertures.

© Farang

This refers to the minimum and maximum size the aperture can open to. A typical lens may have aperture sizes ranging from F2 to F16, but this obviously depends on the lens and what it’s primary function is.

The maximum aperture (minimum F number) tends to be of most interest and is always included when describing a lens.

According to wikipedia, the largest aperture used in film history, was F0.7 and was used in Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon.

Prime lenses (non zoon lenses) have a fixed focal length (FFL) and a large aperture. These are favoured by professionals, especially the likes of photojournalists who may be working in bad lighting situations and have to be able to capture good photos no matter what the lighting conditions.

Zoom lenses typically will have apertures around the ranges of F2.8 to F6.3. A very fast and expensive zoom lens will have a constant aperture of F2.8 or F2. This means that the aperture will stay the same size through the zoom range.

Experiment with your aperture. Take photos starting with the largest aperture, and then go to the smallest. If you are shooting on manual, it will give you a good idea of the effect your aperture has on your pics.

Happy Shooting over the Halloween weekend... i'll explain ISO and Shutter Speed in my next blogs!


Photo credits: Brad Calkins, Farang, Siloto, Werner Stoffberg.

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November 10, 2009


thank you very much! I am new in this and it's really helpful!

November 02, 2009


Thanks for sharing the valuable information.

November 02, 2009


hey, i found this website that may be able to help you.. i'm not sure myself on how to calculate the DOF.. i just take a photo and if i like it.. i keep it!! HERE

November 01, 2009


Rebecca, You are very beautiful. In the analogue cameras you can almost exactly measure the depth of field and take exact pictures, but in the case of digital cameras there are no depth of field scales marked on the lens. How do counter that other than inrease or decrease aperture by experience on intution. are there any DOF scales for DSLRs available"?

October 31, 2009


Thanks, good comes a reminder from time to time to not forget about such important and often overlooked already. Genial!

October 30, 2009


Great Article. It would be cool to try some of those "nocturnal" lenses. Canon has a 50mm f0.95 floating around. But I can imagine how hard it is to focus the subject with a lens like that. ;)

October 30, 2009


Another excellent blog! Thank you for putting these informative blogs together. It never hurts to brush up on this even if you think you know how to use your camera. Cheers :0)

October 30, 2009


Thanks for the free coaching class you are providing. waiting for your next blogs.

October 30, 2009


thanks for sharing, when i first started learning it was quite confusing but now i can say i've almost mastered it - i need lots of confidence though to go full manual especially when shooting kids :)

October 30, 2009


You always make great explanations, Rebecca! Thanks for sharing and the bold font :)
Waiting for your next blogs!

October 30, 2009


thanks great post.I really have a hard time with this one.When I use auto it will not let me pick my f stop.I have a canon 400D ,lens 55 mm 1.8 and a macro 28-105 3.5 - 4.5.Any advice will be appreceated
Thanks Debbie

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