Sarah Harbuck your Click-a-Pic Challenge hostess here with a quick lesson on Aperture.

Aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. The size of the aperture determines how much light is let through. On your camera the aperture is represented by a symbol called AV or referred to as an F-stop. F-stops range anywhere from f1.2 to f22 depending on the lens. It is important to remember that the smaller the number the bigger the opening and vice versa.

For example the aperture of f1.8 is going to be bigger and let in more light as opposed to say f11 which is smaller and will let in less light.

Setting your aperture to 1.8 will give you the option of having more available light but setting your aperture wide open also means you have a limited plane of focus or depth of field. You won’t be able to focus as far into the image. Setting your aperture at f11 means you’re letting in less light but you’ll have a much longer plane of focus or depth of field.

This is illustrated below using my 50mm 1.8 lens with the subject being photographed in “open shade” and my white balance was set at “shade” or “daylight”:

ISO 400 f1.8 at 1/3200

ISO 400 f16 at 1/50

Notice that my corresponding shutter speeds changed as well. The 1st photo with the larger aperture has a blurry or creamy background (a short depth of field) making the orange flower more noticeable. The 2nd photo has a smaller aperture and more of the photo is in focus making the flower not the “focus” of the photo.

Larger apertures are typically used in portraiture as to eliminate distracting backgrounds or to make the person more the focus of the photo:

ISO 400 f1.8 at 1/2000

ISO 400 f11 at 1/40

Do you see the differences? Use a still object and a tripod if you’d like and experiment with different aperture settings and how they change the look of the photo.

Stop by the forum every Friday for a brand new Click-a-Pic Challenge! Everyone is welcome regardless of shooting experience or equipment – just come and play along!

Article by: Sarah Harbuck for

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