Photography 101 - Aperture

Aperture is a hole in your lens made up of little metal plates that work together to open and closed it controls your depth of field. Large Aperture means a large hole and Small Aperture means a small hole. However, don’t get confused with the f Stop number that goes with it. A large aperture (large hole) has a small number (i.e f2.8) and a small aperture (small hole) has a large number (i.e f22).

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Depth of field is the amount of your photo that you have in focus. You control this by changing your aperture. A small aperture (large number f22) will give you greater depth of field. This means that most of your photo will be in focus. A larger aperture (small number f2.8) will give you shallow depth of field. This means that only a very small portion of your photo will be in focus.

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Shallow Depth of Field

Here, you can see that our subject is in focus. But everything behind it is completely out of focus. This is shallow depth of field. Shallow depth of field is perfect for portraits as it allows you to blur the background and put emphasis on your subject.

Large Depth of Field

Here, you can see that the rocks, grass and girl in the foreground are in focus. But the mountains far back in the distance are also in focus.. This is large depth of field. Perfect for landscape photography as you get to capture the entire scene.

Think of Depth of Field as a three-dimensional effect, with an X, Y and Z axis. The focal point is the point that you are focused on. Aperture controls the depth of field (Z) beyond and before that point. This is the Z axis. The focal plane (X and Y axis), is the plane of focus. Anything in line with that plane either side to side or up and down will be in focus.

Aperture and Shutter Speed go hand in hand, and it's the Shutter, that you're going to learn about next.