Photography 101

Photography 101: Adjusting the Aperture

Happy Monday!

I went to my first lacrosse game ever on Saturday — I thought about bringing my camera, but wasn’t sure if it would even be worth it. Turns out, the tickets we had were spectacular and I could have absolutely taken some pictures! I’m not too sad though – I’ll be heading to another game in March and it gave me an opportunity to learn what the sport is all about.  I must say, I’m a fan. Enough about the weekend, let’s get to the good stuff.

The Plan

  1. What is an aperture?
  2. Why adjust the aperture?
  3. Why this matters

Keep in Mind

  • Exposure is the amount of light that hits your camera’s sensor.
  • An improperly exposed photo will lose detail!
  • Underexposure will cause your photos to be dark; overexposure will cause your photos to be white

The Quick and Dirty

What is an Aperture

The aperture is the opening in your lens that lets light through to your camera’s sensor. This combines with shutter speed and ISO (two topics that will be covered at a later date) to create your photo’s exposure. Aperture is usually written as an f-stop (f2, f4, f8, etc.).

Why Adjust the Aperture

Adjusting the aperture in your camera’s manual mode will change the amount of light that the sensor receives.

Good to Know: Each time the f-stop doubles, half the amount light is allowed through.

Why this Matters

When your camera is in automatic, it chooses the best settings to give you a standard photo. It tries to give you as much detail in the whole frame as possible. One of the benefits of adjusting the aperture is playing with the depth of field.


The first photo is of a lens cap at f4; the second photo is of the same lens cap at f10. Do you notice a difference?

What you should see is that in the first photo (f4), the bags behind the lens cap are blurry! The second photo (f10) has more of the background in focus. This can give you a lot of very cool photo options. If you noticed from last week’s Inspiration post, this is a very common but ultimately beautiful effect.

Good to Know: A smaller aperture (i.e. f4) will give you a shallower depth of field.


Shot of the Week

This week’s SOTW theme is: Childhood Memory

Happy Shooting!

2 thoughts on “Photography 101: Adjusting the Aperture

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *