Photography Tips: Using Lower Aperture

People may hear the phrase "camera aperture" but not know what it means. The camera aperture is useful for photographers who are making the move from amateur to professional photography. The aperture is connected to the opening of the camera lens and acts with the lens to produce a dynamic similar to the widening or narrowing of a pupil in reaction to light. Using your camera aperture to reflect the right amount of light is an important photography tip to impart: it can drastically improve the quality and appearance of a photograph.

Step 1 - Understanding the Aperture

Higher aperture settings allow you to take pictures with greater depth of field, but since less light will hit the camera lens at the same time, you must use a slower shutter speed, to let enough light hit the lens to produce a good shot. Increasing the depth using the higher aperture will allow you to take keep more subjects in distance relative to their distance from the camera.  Lower apertures allow more interesting and dynamic depth of fields.  Because these lower aperture settings result in a narrower depth of field, you are able to select specific objects to keep in focus within the frame and leave the rest out of focus and slightly blurry.  This allows you to really highlight a subject in fresh ways.  Additionally, since the lower aperture is allowing more light in at once, you are able to use a faster shutter speed, which can result in sharper, more clear photographs.

Step 2 - The F-Stop Word

Most modern cameras use an aperture rating known as an 'F stop'. The higher the F-stop is, the smaller the hole through which the lens can receive light. So if you want a smaller aperture hole, for example, then you need to switch the F-stop to a higher number. F/11-F/16 are generally considered to be ideal for landscape photographs, while f/1.8-2.5, if available, can be great for portraits and close, single subject pictures.

Step 3 - Know the Difference

There's little point in being able to switch between an higher and lower aperture if you don't know which is the right one to use in different photographic situations. A basic lower F-stop number, such as that used in most portrait settings, results in a very blurry picture for everything that is not in direct focus. A lower aperture (higher F-stop number), gives you depth and sharpness right across the picture. The high aperture should be used when you want to take photographs of crowds, or when you want everything in a group to have equal focus.

Step 4 - Combining Aperture and Shutter Speed

Aperture and shutter speed together make a vast difference in the appearance of a photograph. By altering the combinations of aperture and shutter speed, you can affect the depth of field, and also the focus. This is perfect for taking multiple shots of the same item, for example in commercial product photography. Changing the focus can look good in small photographs, but you should be careful that you don't blow up the picture too much, as this can give a picture serious 'noise'.

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