Beginners Guide to Aperture and F-Stops

Beginners Guide to Aperture. If you look at the lens on your DSLR camera you’ll notice f-stops or f-numbers e.g. f/22, f/16, f/8.0, etc So what do these numbers refer to? Each value represents the the diameter of the lens opening very much like the pupil/iris in your eye. The larger you set the diameter the more light will reach your image sensor. DLSR cameras have either ‘A’ or ‘AV’ on the dial which controls the aperture settings.

An f-stop of f/2.8 would be a large aperture in comparison to f/4. As the f-stop number increases it lets in much less light. The aperture is an important factor in photography which allows you to become more creative especially in determining the depth of field.

This refers to how much of the image is in sharp focus while blurring the background adding more emphasis on the subject. Using a smaller aperture brings most of the image into detail which is ideal for landscape photography.

The aperture is controlled within the lens by blades which can either open to let in more light or closed which quite simply shrinks the opening for less light.

Remember that the aperture also has an effect on your shutter speed. By opening the aperture to it’s widest enables you to use faster shutter speeds which is especially useful to freeze action such as sports.

Beginners Guide to Aperture Summary

To summarize A high aperture (low f stop number) would be ideal for portraits resulting in a blurred background while a low aperture (high f stop number) gives you depth and sharpness throughout the whole picture. Low apertures would be more suited to landscapes or crowds.

Andy T. Laird
I am the founder and owner of 'Lairds Lifestyle' to help you develop a healthier and more productive lifestyle. This includes Keto diets, intermittent fasting, workouts and of course sharing one of my favourite activities in life - Photography, from tutorials to hands on workshops!