Understand Aperture and Depth Of Field


What do you know about aperture? If you are a beginner in this field and want to learn more about this new found love of photography then aperture is one of those magical settings of the camera that can change the whole look of your pictures. If you get the knowledge of what aperture really is, you will come one step forward to become an advanced photographer. So, here is a simple guide to making you understand about aperture.

What is aperture?

In photography, the aperture is a hole or an opening from which light travels. A wide aperture will be able to take a sharp picture from the correct distance and on the other hand, a narrow aperture will take a clear picture of a wide field.  This aperture in camera expressed in f-numbers or “f-stops”. If your f-number is higher like f/15 than the aperture will be smaller and when then it is lower like f/1.2 aperture will be wider.

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Aperture is one of the three pillars of photography. It is just like the pupil in our eyes, the more the pupil extends the more light comes further into our eyes, giving us a clearer vision. Just like that if you narrow the aperture of your camera (increase the f-number) you are going to get more depth of field. The more depth of field means that the foreground and background of the picture will be sharp.

Now, when you extend the aperture (decrease the f-number) you are going to get less field depth. That means the foreground will be clearer and the background will be blurry or out of focus.

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This aperture feature is very helpful in portrait photography. For example, there is an option of “selective focus”, which helps to separate the subject from the surrounding. Choosing a lower f-stop of f/1.4 to create a very less depth of the field, making the subject of the photograph clearer and in-focus. Like in this picture, the background is blurry

In case of landscape photography, the more the detailing the better the photograph. That is why choosing a higher f-stop of f/14 will give you more depth of a photograph.

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How to use?

Every lens has a limit of how large or how small the aperture can get. If you take a look at the specification of your lens, you will see the maximum apertures (lowest f-number) and minimum apertures (highest f-numbers) of your lens are. The maximum aperture is more important than the minimum because it shows the speed of the lens. A lens that has the aperture of f/1.2 is considered to be a fast lens because it can pass through more light than, an aperture of f/4.0. That is why lenses with a larger aperture are more suitable for low light photography.


I hope that this article has been the help you needed for your photography passion. Now, take your camera off from auto mode and control the settings yourself. Don’t be afraid to do experiment with all the features of your camera. The more you will use them, the more you will become a  pro at photography.

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