All Things Photography, Tutorials

Aperture and Depth of Field for the Photography Beginner

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Aperture, that hole in the middle of the lens that lets the light in is what we are going to be talking about.  In photography, I often see questions about getting blurred backgrounds or sharper landscapes so here we will talk about Aperture and ‘Depth of Field‘.

What and how?

We know the size of the opening in the lens is the aperture, but another term that pops up is ‘Depth of Field‘ (DoF).  The main word here to remember is ‘Depth‘.  How deep we want our sharpness to appear to look good.

This is how DoF is affected by the aperture:

  • A big wide aperture (f2.8) creates a shallow DoF.  ie, lots of blurry backgrounds.
  • A tiny aperture (f22) creates a deep DoF.  ie, more of the scene appears sharp.
Comparing Aperture with Depth of Field
Comparing Aperture with Depth of Field

We can see that as DoF increases, the amount of light coming into the camera decreases and as a result the shutter-speed will have to be slowed down.  Ideally, keep the ISO low as not to introduce grain into the photo.  You can now see that to get a clean, sharp shot of a landscape you will require a ‘Deep DoF‘ and as a result, a slower shutter speed.  This, in turn, means TRIPOD.

Likewise, if we want a nice shot of just a snail with no regard for the background but to make it blurry, a nice ‘Shallow DoF‘.

There are other considerations to be taken into account but this makes a good starting point.

Set your camera to Aperture Priority and PLAY!!!


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