Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing a series of posts on elements that digital photographers need to learn about in order to get out of Auto mode and learn how to manually set the exposure of their shots. I’ve largely focussed upon three elements of the ‘exposure triangle‘ – ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. I’ve previously written about the first two and today would like to turn our attention to Aperture.
Before I start with the explanations let me say this. If you can master aperture you put into your grasp real creative control over your camera. In my opinion – aperture is where a lot of the magic happens in photography and as we’ll see below, changes in it can mean the difference between one dimensional and multi dimensional shots.
What is Aperture?
Put most simply – Aperture is ‘the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken.’
When you hit the shutter release button of your camera a hole opens up that allows your cameras image sensor to catch a glimpse of the scene you’re wanting to capture. The aperture that you set impacts the size of that hole. The larger the hole the more light that gets in – the smaller the hole the less light.
Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’. You’ll often see them referred to here at Digital Photography School as f/number – for example f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6,f/8,f/22 etc. Moving from one f-stop to the next doubles or halves the size of the amount of opening in your lens (and the amount of light getting through). Keep in mind that a change in shutter speed from one stop to the next doubles or halves the amount of light that gets in also – this means if you increase one and decrease the other you let the same amount of light in – very handy to keep in mind). Read more: