— Bringing Photo Know-How to the Masses —

Lesson Three: Balance – Aperture

The purpose of general photography is to capture a moment in time, so we can enjoy it and share with others, the feeling we had when we took the photo. We are more likely to enjoy it, if we capture it just the way we saw it. There are some situations that call for a photo that doesn’t look like the scene from which it was taken. Artistic freedom permits you to control the light in any way you wish; but when you are trying to recreate an exact representation of a moment. it’s important to preserve all of the detail so others see exactly what you did at the time the photo was created.

Learning how to focus attention on an area of the photo to enhance it’s message or dramatic effect is done through proper Framing and by using Depth of Field to blur out distraction.  ~ Choosing to ignore either of these won’t result in a completely terrible photo, it just means the message may get lost in translation..

Have a look at how Depth of Field is used to blur the background into an unrecognizable state. this is accomplished by changing the Aperture, which also affects the amount of light entering the camera. In these photos I made up for the difference in light by adding more flash power to my scene. In natural (Ambient) light you could use your Shutter Speed to add light as you change your aperture size.

Aperture numbers are rated in increments called “F Stops”
A large Aperture hole = small number F 2.8
A smaller hole = Larger number F 22


Move your mouse over the F stops to see the different Depth of Field effects.

Of the four different sides to good balance:  Aperture  ~  Shutter Speed  ~  ISO  ~  Light.
Each has one thing in common = Light.

Aperture – Controls the depth of field in a photograph & Controls light into the camera.

Shutter Speed – Controls the timing of exposure allowing action or movement in a scene & Controls light into the camera.

ISO – Adds Grain to the photo by allowing the sensitivity to light to climb.  Which controls light falling on the sensor.

And…   Light – which contributes to the whole process but is not as consistent in it’s affect to it.

Meaning, while you can always count on Depth of Field or Shutter timing to work as you plan and the sensitivity of you ISO stops to be the same. Only consistent strobes can alleviate the need to constantly tweak to suit the lighting conditions. As photographers that’s what we do; we play with light and we work around light. You can be outside shooting great photos in great light and within moments, your light could be all over the place or gone completely.   Without a firm understanding of the light control within Aperture, Shutter Speed and Iso, you will find it challenging to step up the most daily photo routines.

There is more to know about aperture when it comes to using off Camera flash, but at this point of learning camera basics, we will leave the unneeded info for more advanced lesson topics.

From this lesson  you should take the following:    Aperture is one of four components to proper exposure.
It controls Depth of Field in a photograph as well as light levels.

At this point we can break for Lesson 4:  Shutter Speed.

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