You’ve picked up your DSLR, you’re excited to start shooting the world around you, now what?
If you’re a beginner or amateur photographer, you may feel like you’ve bitten more than you can chew when it comes to understanding even the fundamental basics of photography. To get you going, let’s start with exposure.
Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three settings that influence the exposure of a photograph. An underexposed photograph will show too dark. Overexposure is the complete opposite, it will allow too much light during exposure and appear too bright. Some would argue that the “perfect” exposure for a photograph is the closest resemblance to reality but photography is subjective and every photographer is different. (Don’t feel like you have to fit in a certain box to be great at the art!)
What is Aperture?
Let’s start with aperture. Aperture is the hole within a lens that lets light in. The bigger the hole is, the more light that will travel into your camera body and vice versa. You can increase or decrease the size of your aperture to alter the brightness of your image. The photos below show how aperture will affect exposure. The photo on the left has a large aperture, the photo on the right has a small aperture, and the photo in the middle is the “correct” aperture.
If you want to get more technical (and you will) you should also know that in addition to simple terms like “small” and “large”, aperture is also known as an “f-number” or “f-stop”. Every aperture value will show the letter “f” before a number. For example: f/7.
Here’s where it gets tricky – small number values represent large apertures, and large number values represent small apertures. For beginner photographers this can get confusing, so it’s key that you pay attention to at the beginning. For example, f/4 is larger than f/11. If you want more light showing through your camera, you will want to set your aperture to a smaller number, and for minimal light set it to a larger number.
As humans we are almost always instinctively going to see a small number as a small value and a large number as a large value so it’s okay to struggle with this at the start. Eventually, the more you practise photography the more second nature this will become.
Here is a scale to compare aperture sizes and f-numbers.
Aperture is one of the most important, if not the single most important setting in photography because your choice of aperture changes the effects on an image drastically! We hope this beginner guide to aperture helped you start to understand the basics of aperture.
Kwilt not only wants to protect your photos & videos, we also want to make sure they’re picture perfect. Want to learn more? Let us know what topic we should cover next in our Shoot Like a Photography Pro Series!