Archive for the ‘ The Basics ’ Category

Basics: Aperture and Depth of Field

By Jack Berglund

There are numerous books and websites explaining the ins and out of shutter speed and aperture.  I’ll explain them in a simple way that you can actually use and when you need to care about what.  Here we’ll cover aperture, in a follow-up post I’ll include shutter speed.

Depth of Field is Your Friend

One of the best things about upgrading to a Digital SLR from a point and shoot is being able to control your depth of field. Depth of field is how much of photo is in focus from the point your focusing on.To get a portrait with an in focus face and a nice blurry background, you want a shallow depth of field.

Large Aperture, Shallow Depth of Field

The main way to control your depth of field is to alter the size of the aperture (the hole through which the light passes).  Due to something called ‘physics’ a larger aperture means a shallower depth of field.  Aperture is measured in f stops.   There are two important things to know about an f-stop: 1) smaller numbers mean a bigger aperture and 2) I’ll tell you in a moment.

Small f number (e.g. f/2.8) = big aperture = shallow depth of field = blurry background = nice portrait

Maximizing a Blurry Background

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