Aperture Made Simple

2/14/2016

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Aperture, along with ISO and Shutter Speed, is one of the three cornerstones of Exposure. Once you master exposure, your pictures will no longer look flat and soul-less, but will start transmitting feelings to the eye of the viewers.
 Let’s start off with Aperture. As mentioned in my previous article, it refers to the opening of a lens diaphragm through which light passes. It is measured in fractions (f/1.8, f/2.5…f/8..f/11…f/22). The aperture value determines the depth of field. 
 
 Why important?
 Aperture allows you to have the right color balance depending on what are the chosen shutter speed and ISO levels. Higher f/stops (closed diaphragm) will drive in your camera sensor a lower quantity of light than lower f/stops (open diaphragm). It means that in the first case you will need to use a slower shutter speed, while in the latter a quicker one (same ISO setting).
 
 Impact on Composition
 Aperture is very important when it comes to composition. The whole concept and techniques about composition will be covered in a dedicated post. For now, it is important to have in mind that aperture is one of the main elements that define depth of field (the other two being focal lens and subject positioning).
 
 Depth of field allows you to tell what is important for you. High aperture (low f/stops) help you have in focus just the subject you have chosen. This technique is used when shooting portraits, architectural details, macro photography, urban exploration (see picture below).

When it comes to landscapes, lower aperture values, say from f/8 to f/11, will return a perfect focus from foreground to background. At night, when shooting cityscapes, aperture values of f/18 will return that star effects you really like when looking at street lamps. 
 
 Mastering Aperture will give you that creative edge to transform a common familiar scene into a remarkable image. Even a row of simple bottles of water can be transformed in something extraordinary.
 
 Call to Action
 If you like this article, please subscribe to my blog. You will get a free “quick guide” by subject as soon as they get ready. The first one is “Exposure Made Simple”. 
 In just one slide it will help you understand what exposure is and teach you how to:

  • creatively use the shutter speed and the impact on motion blur
  • what ISO are and the impact on the quality of your photograph
  • the importance of aperture and the whole concept about depth of field

Thanks for reading!
 Joe

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Originally published at www.joeschmiedphotography.com.

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