Photography Made Simple: What is aperture?

Hi chums!

Until recently I never really thought much about how a photo is created. I just kind of picked angles I liked in places I liked, put the camera on P setting or auto and clicked away. 

When I arrived at university I joined Photography Society and went to one of the talks which they called 'Moving on from auto'. I was like 'did they know I was coming?!' because it was just the sort of thing I wanted to learn about.

I know when someone starts talking about photography it can seem confusing (trust me I get you!) so today I thought I share some tips I learned when I was there. I also think it's easier to focus (please pardon the pun!) on one thing at a time so today I thought I'd start with aperture. 

Aperture basically means how much light you let into your camera. For example, if it's nighttime it's dark (obvs lol) so that means you want as much light as possible to brighten up your photo. On the other hand, if it's a really sunny day then you want to control that light by letting a bit less light into the camera.

On auto setting it obviously does everything for you, but if you go into manual mode then you can change it yourself.

To show you what I mean I took a few photos of Ripton cathedral.

So the photo above is clearly set to the wrong aperture. It was a sunny day already and yet I changed the aperture so that as much light was let into the camera as possible.

Once I realised this I changed the setting so that less light was let in and you can see now (in the picture below) that although it was still too much light, the cathedral is easier to see and is more defined.

After I took this I changed the aperture once more and took the photo which is the very first photo on this blog post.

So basically it's all about experimenting and trying to get the right balance of light. That's the theory behind it but now I'll talk about how you actually change the setting on the camera.

My camera is the Canon EOS 750D with an 18-135 lense. When I go on manual setting I hit the Q button at the side (this may vary depending on your camera, but it's the button which shows you all the different settings you can change within manual mode.

Aperture on my camera ranges from F5.6 to F36, with F5.6 being the setting that lets the most light in and F36 being the setting that lets the least light in.

So for taking the photo above I used an aperture setting nearer to F5.6 and although inside the arch (where is was dark) is visible, the stone in the sunlight came out too bright.

On this next picture (above) I used too an aperture setting which was too high because the inside of the arch is too dark to see.

The final picture I took was this one (above), which has a better balance, allowing you to see the inside of the arch and the outside. (I still think the right side of the arch is a bit bright but this was this best I could get!)

My last example is with this arch at Fountains Abbey. The sun was in a really awkward place, casting shadows and being a bit inconvenient (sorry just joking sun please never leave - England needs you!) So on the first take the aperture setting was way too low. The blue sky is verging on looking white, even though it seems to be a good setting to capture the stone of the arch.

When I increased the aperture setting I got the picture below; an amazing blue sky but with shadows and a dark arch colour.

So I hope this blog post has helped. I'm still practicing and getting used to changing aperture but I think it's just experimenting!

More photography posts on the way soon!



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