get to the shot. Week Nine. Aperture.
Whenever I get asked about photography, the majority of the time it’s about aperture. It seems like for beginners, it’s the hardest part about photography to understand. Small aperture is a big number, and visa-versa …? In one of my previous blog post, I tried to explain it in as simple terms as I can. Today I’ll touch on a few basics again.
Lets start with landscape photos. Here you want as much as possible in focus (usually anyway). To make things easy, choose to shoot on Aperture priority, and choose a small aperture. That’s the bigger number. It will be a good idea to start with f/8. If you change to a smaller aperture (bigger number i.e. f/11) you’ll notice the shutter speed decrease. Below are two almost identical photos. They were taken the same night with two different cameras and two different apertures. The first one was taken with aperture of f/10. Although everything was in focus, there was something lacking.
The second photo, although a bigger aperture (f/8), what lacked in the first one, I achieved in this photo. Do you notice the difference? Everything is in focus in both photos, but this second one has a cool “starry” effect around the lights. All cameras are different, but this starry effect will start to show around f/8 while on other cameras it will only start around f/11. You will have to experiment with your camera to see when it starts to show.
Now for the opposite end of aperture. The large aperture (small numbers like f/1.8 or f/2.8). This size aperture is used when you want only a small part of you photo to be in focus. This is essential in portrait photography. But it can also have beautiful effects in nature and close-up photography.
Below is a series of close-up photos, and the biggest aperture I used here was f/2.8. The small number (f/1.8 or f/2.8) can also be seen as focus distance. The smaller the number, the less will be in focus. Notice in these photos how few of the leave are in focus and how the background is completely out of focus. When you use a shallow depth of field (little in focus) like this, it focus the viewers attention to the area in focus.
Hopefully “aperture” is a bit more clear now. Fire away with any questions. Better yet, let me know if you have anything to add, or if you can explain it better.
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