How does Aperture Affect Photographs (Depth of field) | Basics of  Photography  Episode 7

How does Aperture Affect Photographs (Depth of field) | Basics of Photography Episode 7

January 22, 2020 100 By Peter Engel

Hello and welcome to another episode on GMax Studios. Over the past few weeks, we have been talking about how to take more creative control over the kind of photographs that we take. Last week for instance, we saw how shutter speed affects our pictures. Today we shall take a look at how aperture affects the photograph that we take. We shall also try and understand what depth of field is and how aperture can be used to control depth of field to get each photograph that we take unique look and feel. For unique photograph that we take there is a point of focus. In this photograph for instance. The focus is on the number five. Apart from the point of focus there is an here in front and behind the point of focus that looks like it is in focus too. The distance between the nearest and farthest point that appear sharp is called depth of field. The large depth of field is often called deep focus or deep depth of field, and a small depth of field is often called shallow focus or shallow depth of field. How deep or shallow the depth of field is, depends on the aperture that we are shooting at. So, the smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field. Or an easy way to remember it is, the greater the aperture f number, the greater the depth of field, and of course, the smaller the aperture number the smaller the depth of field. So this photograph for instance has a very shallow depth of field because it has been shot at an aperture of f/2. And this one has a relatively deep depth of field cause it has been shot at f16. So you say, I bought this new fast lens with a bigger aperture and since a bigger aperture lets in more light into the camera, why don’t I shoot full wide open all the time? Well, this is something that I learned after making a lots of mistakes. Using depth to fill your advantage is a matter of deciding how do you want to reveal or hide in your photographs. Traditionally, while shooting people or portraits, we use a shallow depth of depth of field so that the attention is on the subject, and we use a deep depth of field while shooting landscape because we want everything to be in focus, but then there are always exceptions. Suppose you are shooting a group of people. If you shoot with your aperture open some people in your group will not be too happy with the outcome. So you need to stock down your aperture if one could see a bit more of the environment, so I stopped down just a little bit to f/4 and shot this one. In both the photographs at both the apertures, there was hardly any change in the way the subject appeared, but you can alter the field of the picture by altering the depth of field. There are a few other factors that affect depth of field but we shall discuss them a few episodes from now. So while there are no hard and fast rules about what kind of photographs to take with what aperture, it is important to think before we press the shutter and know what kind of options are available to us by opening or closing the aperture. Even extremely simple pictures can make use of this to effectively convey what you are trying to say. So how do we control aperture while shooting? The answer lies in the aperture priority mode of the camera. the aperture priority mode is denoted by an ‘A’ on Nikon cameras and ‘AV’ on Canon cameras. In this mode you choose the aperture at which you want to take the photograph and the camera automatically adjust the shutter speed for a proper exposure. So it might be a great idea to change your cameras to aperture priority mode and see what different kind of picture can you take at different apertures. All right then since now we know about aperture priority and we learnt about shutter priority in the previous episode. In the next episode we shall talk about the other modes on the camera which is the program or auto mode and the much dreaded and feared manual mode. Till then keep watching our videos, subscribe to our channel, share our videos and we will see you next week. Till then keep shooting.