Aperture, what is it and why is it important? I’m sure you have heard photographers say, “Lighting is everything in a picture.” This is true, the lighting can give your picture a whole new feel. A photographer has control of everything when it comes to the setting in their camera, do you? Probably not if you are shooting in Auto, try shooting in Manual this will give you the control you are probably looking for, if you’re looking for it. There are settings in your camera that you want to have control over when setting up your shot. Here are some things that you can try to help your lighting and focus, this is simply going to give you more control over what your camera “sees.” This setting is part of the Exposure Triangle which I have talked about in a previous article.
Aperture, or also referred to as f-stop, is how much light you are, or are not letting into your camera’s sensor. Settings for aperture range from like f/1.8 to like f/22, something to keep in mind and it’s going to sound crazy, but the smaller the f-stop the more light you are letting in. If you hear a photographer say its wide open, it means that the aperture setting is low, like at an f-stop of 1.8 or so, it will also depend on the lens they are using for how large of an aperture they can get. The wide aperture of low f-stop is letting in a lot of light, which gives photographers that ability to freeze the action within the frame, most commonly used in sports. A closed aperture, or larger f-stop is not letting in as much light but lets you capture some movement in your picture.
Your aperture setting does not just affect the amount of light that your camera’s sensor is seeing, but also the depth of field. Chris Corradino, a writer for digital photography school, says, “The greater the f-stop number, the greater the depth of field.” The depth of field defines what is in focus and what is not. The larger the aperture you have the ‘shallower’ depth of field you are going to have, and the smaller the f-stop will allow you to have more things in focus in your photo.
Deciding what to focus on in your picture is going to tell the viewer where to look. Say you drive by a beautiful landscape that you want to have all in focus, you are going to want to use a closed aperture. Set up your framing, from here see what’s in your frame and focus on something that is one third of the way up from the bottom of your picture, this way the foreground and background are in focus. That action shot you want of your son or daughter playing a sport or just running around the backyard, using a wide aperture will allow you to freeze them in time for a lasting memory.
Tonya Moken is the owner of TLM Productions, LLC, a business focusing on you in South Jersey and Philadelphia. Please call TLM Productions’ Tonya Moken at 609.440.6176 or email her at tonya.moken@TLMproductions.com for a project quote or photography lessons today!