• Foto Ruta’s Quick Guide to Aperture

    Foto Ruta’s Quick Guide to Aperture

    A few weeks ago, we shared with you Foto Ruta’s quick guide to shutter speed. Learning a few basic and important functions of your camera can really help to you to start taking more interesting and visually stimulating photographs. Apart from shutter speed, learning how to use your camera’s aperture is fundamental, that’s why today’s post is dedicated to sharing our quick guide to aperture.

    Photo courtesy of Daniel*1977

    Aperture

    Light enters your camera through an opening in the lens called “aperture.” The opening should be bigger or smaller based on the amount of light that you want to enter your lens. The chart below explains some of the common aperture settings and how they actually look on the inside of your camera lens. As you can see, the bigger the aperture number, or f-stop (ie. f22), the smaller the opening in your lens, and therefore less light will enter your lens. You will use this kind of aperture setting when you have a lot of bright light. The smaller the aperture number, or f-stop (ie. f2.8), the bigger the opening, and therefore more light will enter your lens. You will use this kind of aperture setting when you have very low lighting, like at night or in a poorly lit place.

    Aperture also controls your depth of field, which is the area of the photo that is sharp and in focus. An aperture of f2.8 will have small depth of field. That means your foreground should be in focus and the background will be blurry and out of focus, like in the photo below.

    An example of a small depth of field and a more open aperture setting (ie. f2.8)
    Photo courtesy of J.Salmoral

    A larger depth of field would mean that both the foreground and the background will be in focus. If you want a larger depth of field you need to have a more closed aperture. Objects in the foreground and background will be sharp and in focus, like the photo example below.

    An example of a large depth of field and a more closed aperture setting (ie. f16 or f22)
    Photo courtesy of Jose Téllez

    Playing with your aperture settings will allow you to take more interesting photographs. With a small depth of field you can really make your subject pop by blurring the background of the photo. With a larger depth of field you can bring various subjects into focus no matter how close or far away they are from your camera.

    When your camera is in the automatic mode, it will set both the shutter speed and the aperture for you, but it can also be fun to play around with aperture by changing your camera setting to AV or A, depending on what type of camera you have. This will allow you to adjust your aperture as you like, while the camera will automatically choose the proper shutter speed for the light.

    Thanks for checking out our quick guide to aperture. Learning how to use the different settings on your DSLR camera is a great way to start creating better photos. Stay tuned for Foto Ruta’s quick guide to ISO, coming soon!

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