Basics of Aperture to capture stunning photos

Many get inspired by looking at some of the great photographer’s work and is it always good to follow their work. In this article, I will be focusing on the basics of Aperture and how you can play around with your camera to get stunning photos. Most of them just buy a camera and then press the shutter button (in Auto mode) to capture an image without understanding the basics of the camera like aperture, shutter, or ISO.

Basics of Aperture

The first thing that you need to do is go through each and every page in the manual and know what each and every button in your camera does. Understand the functionality because the menu in your camera has too many built-in options and features. Next is to understand the basics of photography.

What is an aperture in photography?

It is nothing but the size of the opening in your lens through which the light goes to your image sensor, this can be varied by opening or closing a set of diaphragm blades within the lens to make the final picture. Wider the opening, more is the light allowed. It is calibrated in f/stops and is commonly written as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16. What is the function of aperture? – Lower f/stops signify larger apertures and provide more exposure, whilst higher f/stops represent smaller apertures and provide less exposure.

How Aperture affects Depth of Field

The zone of acceptable sharpness in front of and behind the subject on which the lens is focused is referred to as the depth of field. This simply refers to how crisp or hazy the background behind your subject is.

What is an example of an aperture?

For example, f2.8 is wide open and can be used when there is low light. It also makes the background blur as shown in the above image. A small opening of diaphragm blades allows less light.

Lower aperture - Ravindra Joisa Photography

For example, f22 is with a narrow opening and doesn’t allow much light to pass through the lens. This is good to use when there is too much light on a bright sunny day (approx. f11) or for a long exposure shot during day time. This kind of setting is used in landscape shots where you want everything in focus as shown below.

Lohajung Roopkund trek Bedni bugyal trek

How Aperture affects Shutter Speed

Using a low f/stop implies that more light enters the lens, which means that the shutter does not need to stay open as long to create a proper exposure, resulting in a faster shutter speed. Again, selecting a high f/stop implies that less light enters the lens, requiring the shutter to stay open a little longer, resulting in a slower shutter speed. This is true of auto mode. However, if you want to try out start trail or long exposure images in low light, you may switch to manual mode and control both the aperture and shutter.

capturing star trails

How to Choose Aperture and how does aperture affect a photo?

Now that we know how to regulate the depth of field, what factors influence our f-stop selection? We employ focus and depth of field to draw attention to what is significant in the shot, and we use lack of focus to reduce distracting elements that cannot be removed from the composition. While there are no hard and fast laws, there are certain principles to follow when deciding on Aperture Priority.

Aperture for Portraits

We use “selective focus” to distinguish our subject from the background in traditional portraiture. Using a big f-stop (lower f/stop, such as f2.8) results in an extremely narrow depth of field, with just the subject, or a portion of the subject, in focus. This aids in drawing the viewer’s attention to the subject.

Basics of Aperture to capture stunning photos

Is 1.8 aperture good for portraits? – While any lens may be used to photograph portraits, a lens with a wide F-stop is required for the traditional portrait. Something with a maximum F-stop of f/1.8 to f/2.8 is ideal, however, f/5.6 can work as well, especially with longer lenses. These days, smartphone cameras have smaller f-stops, which are ideal for portrait photography.

Aperture for Landscape Photography

When selecting lenses for landscape photography, we often want to see as much detail as possible from foreground to background; we want to get the greatest depth of field by selecting a small aperture (higher f/stop, such as f/8 or f/11). By the way, refer to my Landscape photography Cheat Sheet for more details on capturing stunning landscape photos.

Basics of Aperture to capture stunning photos

Aperture for Intermediate Depth of Field

While we can achieve the maximum or minimum depth of field by working at opposite ends of the f-stop range, there are times when we desire a more intermediate degree of depth of field, confining focus to a specified range of distances within the entire shot. One method is to select a mid-range f/stop, such as f/5.6, and shoot a test frame. During image playback, use the LCD’s magnifying feature to zoom in and evaluate the depth of field; make corrections as needed, and reshoot.

Why is the aperture called f-stop?

What does the ‘F’ in F-Stop stand for? The letter ‘f’ denotes focal length. The number after it represents a fraction of the focal length. To get the size of your aperture at a given f-stop, divide the focal length by the fraction. The wider the aperture and the less light that goes through the lens, the higher the f-number; the smaller the aperture and the more light that passes through the lens, the lower the f-number.

Aperture Explained in Video

To conclude, the aperture is certainly a vital setting in photography, and it may be the most critical parameter of all. F-stop impacts various aspects of your photograph, but you’ll get the hang of it soon. If you want to learn more on the technical side of aperture then refer to this post by ‘photographylife‘. Hope you find this useful. Also, check out more on the gadgets that I use on my YouTube channel and support my work by subscribing ▶️. You may signup for my fortnightly newsletter by joining my Friend Zone. 

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2 Replies to “Basics of Aperture to capture stunning photos

  1. DEESHANI BATRA (DB) says:

    This is so beautiful and I liked the concept of aperture. Well done. 🙂

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