Fundamentals of Operating a Camera-Part 4: Aperture
Aperture effects how bright a scene might be and how much of the scene will be in sharp focus.
A camera’s Aperture is actually based on a circle like opening at the back of the lens. As the Aperture narrows, a series of intertwined leaves move in and close up the circle. You can observe this happening on older SLR cameras by holding the Depth of Field preview button and turning the Aperture knob on the lens. When you look into the lens from the front of the camera, you can see the Aperture move.
The numbers assigned to the opening at the back of the lens are derived from a mathematics formula based on the diameter of the opening. Although it seems counter-intuitive, a small number like f/1.4 means a large opening; a large number like f/32 means a small opening. The “f” stands for F-stop.
Because Steve Silverman is an experienced architecture photographer and shoots headshots for business, he has an intimate understanding of how Aperture effects a photo.
The Aperture also effects a scene’s Depth of Field. As defined, this is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that will be in sharp or acceptable focus. This is a concept worthy of it’s own dissertation because there are so many things to consider and, for some, is somewhat confounding to understand.
Practically speaking, a large Aperture corresponds to a shallow Depth of Field. This means that a small amount of the scene will be in sharp focus. If you are focused on a person in the foreground, the background will be out of focus. This helps make a headshot portrait for business more effective.
If you are focused on that person in the background, the foreground will be out of focus.
As the Aperture gets smaller, the Depth of Field gets deeper. If you’re shooting a landscape or architecture image, the sharpness of foreground content will start to match the background. For that reason, many of these images are shot at F-stops of f/8.0 and up. When Steve Silverman shoots architectural photography, he frequently uses an F-stop of F/13.
More Fundamentals of Operating a Camera:
Part 2: The P Mode
Part 3: The Creative Modes
Part 5: Shutter Speed
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