Understanding Aperture (Beginner’s Guideline)

It is difficult to take good pictures without having a perfect understanding of Exposure. ISO, Aperture and shutter speed is known as Exposure Triangle.You can take a picture in auto mode where the camera automatically determine how light or dark an image will appear. But in manual mode, you must have a sound knowledge about Exposure Triangle.Because in manual setting you will determine the value of aperture, ISO and shutter speed. So for the very beginning of your photography journey, you need to know how to set Exposure Triangle of the camera for good picture quality. Aperture is one of the three factors of the exposure triangle.  So in this post, I want to give you a clear idea of the aperture setting in your camera for good exposure and better depth of field.


What is Aperture?

The aperture refers to the size of the hole through which the light enters the camera sensor or films.It is specified in terms of an f-stop value.Bigger the hole the more light allowed in, the small of the hole less light allowed in. One thing that causes a lot of new photographers confusion is that There is an inverse relation between f-stop value and hole of the lens. The area of the hole increases as the f-stop decreases and the area of the hole decreases as the f-stop increase. So f/1.4 is, in fact, a much larger aperture than f/16. Basically, the aperture is a function of the lens, not the camera itself but we control lens aperture through camera.aperture is a major indicator of the quality of the lens.The lens aperture plays two roles, controlling both focus and exposure:

  • First, Aperture controls the amount of light entering the camera through the lens.
  • Second, it adjusts the depth of field in a scene, measured in inches, feet or meters.

How does aperture work in Exposure:

Aperture is correlated with exposure.When you set larger aperture than photo will be more exposed/Overexposed and shorter the aperture photo will be underexposed.


What is Depth of field (DoF):

The depth of field indicates the area that appears sharp in the frame of a photo. you can control the depth of field through the aperture of your lens. Aperture size, distance from the lens and the focal length of the lens are three factor of Depth of field. so aperture and DoF are co-related with each other. DoF is increased when aperture value is decreased.


How Aperture effect in Depth of Field (DoF):

Here I show some photo which I took in aperture priority mode.Here I just changed the value of aperture to understand the relationship between aperture and DoF.  The photos are taken in following the order of aperture value: f/1.8, f/2.2, f/4.5, f/9, f/18, f/22.


All of the photos are taken in same shutter speed and ISO. In first two photos we see that there is a shallow depth of field due to the higher aperture (lower F-stop value) but in last two photos, there is a deeper depth of field due to the lower aperture (higher f-stop value).
Basically to take landscape photos we want a deeper depth of field so at that time we need to set higher aperture value. and set the lower aperture value to take portrait photos.

Over To You

This is only a guideline to know the basic of the aperture. So take your camera and know how exactly aperture will change the quality of the photo. Have fun with your camera!!!

Sharif Mishu

Hi, I am Sharif Mishu from Bangladesh. I am a freelance photographer. I've been in photography since 2010. I got my first DSLR in 2013. Since then I learned many things about photography from my friends, senior, and junior. But the internet was the place that taught me the basics of photography. Here at PicFact.com, I'll be sharing useful photography tips.

Yacon Root - September 4, 2017

Fantastic Site. Really enjoyed reading.

    ohmibodworld.com - September 27, 2017

    As I mainly shoot urban landscape photos, this means I usually set the aperture first as ensuring plenty of depth of field is my biggest concern.

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