It’s great that digital cameras let you point, click and get fantastic results that you can see straight away. Even better, many cameras offer creative control options that will really help you develop your photographic skills. But it can be confusing getting focused on some of the technical terms your camera uses. Here’s a quick guide to F-Stops and aperture control.

The Knowhow

Aperture is one of the vital parts of creating an exposure and describes how wide the shutter opens when you take a photograph. The wider the aperture, the more light pours onto the camera’s sensor. This is very much like how the pupils work in your eyes – when it’s dark and they need more light they open wider, or contract when it’s bright.

F-Stops are how aperture size is measured. A small F-Stop such as f/2:0 means the aperture will be wide open and lots of light allowed into the camera. A higher F-Stop like f/32 gives a small aperture that doesn’t let so much light in.

  • Many cameras, especially DSLRs, will allow you to manually set the F-Stop on your camera or to put it into an automatic aperture mode. The camera’s manual will show you how.
  • Changing your aperture size will allow several creative options when used together with shutter speed. For example, a high F-Stop and a slow shutter speed will give your photos more depth of field; where everything in the foreground and background is in focus. Likewise, a low F-Stop and a high shutter speed gives a more shallow depth of field, which will produce an effect where the background is blurred to let the object you focused on really stand out. This is very useful in close-up or macro photography.
  • If your images appear to bright or too dark, they are over or under exposed. Change to a higher F-Stop to make the image darker, or a lower one to brighten it up.

You’ll be a bright spark at photography now you’ve been exposed to these hints.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.

Updated On:

May 18, 2011

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