Understanding Aperture in 5 Easy Steps


Aperture is one of the most important elements in the camera-lens combination. It is one of the three factors that influence exposure and no photographer, beginner or pro, should be left wondering about what it is and what it does. We’re about to explain what aperture is and how to use it in a few simple steps.

Photographers know the drill. It takes expertise in aperture, ISO and shutter speed to make the best shots. As long as there is balance among the three, you’d get the perfect light, colour and texture that you want to bring your photos. However, if you are a newbie, you’d probably wonder what the heck ISO, shutter speed and aperture are. How do they work? Well, it takes a few photography sessions to explain everything and you need practice to perfect your shots. But a quick read on how these work wouldn’t work. Let’s start off with aperture. Here are five quick pointers on understanding how aperture works:

1. The aperture works just how your eye’s iris works. Your aperture is located in your lens, and basically, it measures how much light your lens is getting. The light that goes through the aperture directs to the shutter where it meets the sensor.

2. You can adjust the diameter of your aperture through the f-stops. If you’re using a DSLR, which most photographers use nowadays, you have a specific button or dials to press to adjust the f-stop. Take note that the smaller the number of your f-stop, the more light will enter through the aperture. The bigger the value, though, the lesser the amount of light that can get in.

3. Take note also that each f-stop change is two times less or more light to dark. For example, if you set it at f11, it automatically means it is twice darker than f9.

4. You also measure the depth of field with the help of the aperture. The wider the aperture, the more light will get in, and therefore it creates shallow depth of field. The more narrow the aperture, the deeper the depth of field. Depth of field, by the way, is how you focus the background of your subject.

5. The aperture is also responsible for the details on the photo. The narrower the aperture, which means the higher the value, the sharper and more vivid the photo will be.

It is understandable that you’d get confused at first. So, go out and enjoy taking photos and apply all these basic tips on using the aperture. After all, it takes practice to get perfection.


We learned about this neat piece of information here: Photography Talk