Home > Photo Tips > 04- Aperture Explained

04- Aperture Explained

Before we talk about Aperture it will be helpful to understand what a camera is.


Film, digital, that is irrelevant. All that matters is that it keeps light out until you tell it otherwise. When you make you an exposure you have to determine how large the opening should be, and how long you leave it open.

The size of the opening is called Aperture. There is actually a mathematical formula to determine the size of the opening in relation to the focal length of the lens but you don’t care about this and neither do I really. But that is where the numbers come from. They are called “f-stops”.

A smaller number (i.e.- f 2) refers to a larger aperture (large hole). A larger number (i.e.- f 16) refers to a smaller aperture (small hole).

The aperture is very important later on when you get better at taking pictures as it determines an awful lot about your photos. But for now let’s just focus on making a proper exposure.

The really important point at this stage is the relationship between Aperture (size of the opening) and Shutterspeed (how long the camera is left open).

In order to achieve a proper exposure you must allow the correct amount of light into the camera. If you have a large opening the camera doesn’t need to be open very long for enough light to enter. If the opening is very small you need to leave the camera open longer to make sure the necessary light can get in.

Imagine trying to fill your bathtub full of water. If you use a firehose it will happen pretty quickly. You can use a garden hose if you want, but that will take much longer.

Large Aperture=Short Shutterspeed

Small Aperture=Long Shutterspeed

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  1. January 26, 2011 at 11:47 am

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