Off The Page Photography

Lesson 1: Aperture

For this first lesson we are going to be talking about aperture. Aperture is an important part that needs attention and adjustment when you are taking a picture. You might be wondering what an aperture is. In terms of a camera, an aperture is an opening in the lens that lets light in.

Our eyes work the same way as the aperture in a camera except that in a camera you can set the aperture to be bigger or smaller, while our eyes only adjust automatically. Being said, the bigger the opening the more light can be let in while a smaller opening results in less light coming through.

This is where things get a little confusing. The size of the openings’ are called f-stops. The bigger the opening, the smaller the f-stop.


So a small f-stop would be considered f/16 while a large f-stop would be f/1.4. The smaller the number the bigger the opening and the bigger the number the smaller the opening. This is confusing at first but just remember that aperture deals with an opposite effect of the number.

With that said, why do we need to know about aperture and how much light we should let through? Aperture is connected to depth of field. Let’s say you want to have just an object in focus but nothing else. This means that the depth of field is short and the object would be in focus but everything else would be blurry. To get this effect your aperture is going to be big. Remember opposite. If you have a big aperture your f-stop is going to be small, ex. f/1.8. If you wanted to get the object plus the background in focus or a long depth of field, your aperture will be small. Your aperture could be f/8 or higher.

This is where you are going to have to play with the aperture to find out what works for the picture you want to be. There are many other things that are linked to aperture. In the next lesson we will be looking at shutter speed.