Photography Tips: Understanding Aperture Settings

When you move towards the more professional end of photography, you want to have more complete control over what is happening with the camera.

And that means understanding all of the elements that can influence your shot.

So today I wanted to go over the perhaps least understood of these: the aperture.

What is an Aperture?

At it’s most basic, an aperture is just a hole. And a camera has one pointing towards the subject of the photo.

It is where all the light comes in and actually forms the photo itself.

So this hole has a large influence on what happens to the camera. And this hole, let’s call it the aperture now, is opened and closed when you take a picture.

That is then the shutter speed that affects exactly how much light comes through, when used in combination with the aperture.

Of course, the interplay of all settings on a camera is quite complex, and that is why I found this video which shows you how:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter
  • ISO
  • Light

can all be changed to work in harmony together to create an awesome shot. Take a look at this video and you will come out the other end a lot wiser!


F Stops in an Aperture

Still thinking of the aperture as just s hole through which the light passes, you now might ask yourself what all this f-stop stuff is about.

That is the way in which aperture sizes are measured, and give us an accurate way of understanding how far open or closed the aperture is.

It is actually more confusing because the numbers are kind of backwards. A small aperture has a large f-stop number. And vice versa.

So with a standard 50mm lens, you might find a larger aperture which numbers ranging in the 1s or 2s.

Here is a great diagram displaying some common aperture settings as found in Wikipedia


Apertures and Depth of Field

Where this really starts to get interesting is in terms of depth of field.

You might have heard about this concept before, and even if you have not, I am sure you know about the effect.

Basically depth of field is the amount of the image that appears in focus.

As you know, depending on the type of effect you are going for and the type of photo you are shooting, this can come in very handy.

Let’s take a quick look at the two most common examples:


When shooting a landscape it is ideal to have the whole shot in focus. Although almost impossible, using depth of field we can achieve a great results.

Generally what you want to do is the following:

  • Focus 1/3 into the shot
  • Decrease the aperture (high f-stop number)

This combination usually gives you a very long depth of field and should ensure your landscape is in focus.


The opposite it more or less true for a portrait. Here you want very little in focus.

You have to be careful how close you are to the subject when making the determination, but generally you focus on the eyes and have a smaller depth of field (smaller f-stop number).

This gives that blurred background effect.

Of course the lens you are using, and the zoom have an effect on how much f-stop range you have. So this is something you have to play with.


So there you have it more or less in a nutshell. An aperture is just the hole that the light goes through, which you can control with a manual camera like a DSLR.

Then using this setting you can have a huge affect on the result of your photo.

Have fun!

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 Portrait Photographers I Love

As a keen portrait photographer I spend a lot of my time chasing my idols. At least online.

So I thought I would share with you all some of my fav portrait photographers so that you can get a glimpse inside my mind and theirs and learn what it is that makes a great photographer great.

My List of Portrait Geniuses

There are so many photographers in the world today, but so few that are really standing out.

Yuri Yasada

One of my favorite is Yuri Yasuda. He is a Japanese genius.

Simplicity is the key, or course, but with a little creativity his portraits have taken the world by storm. Below is one of my favorite images of all time.



Sarah Cheng-de Winne

Another of the starts in portraiture is indeed Sarah. She has a way with the camera, and Photoshop of course, that makes her photos pop.

If only I could get my portraits looking as amazing as hers I would open my studio in New York sooner rather than later!

Here is one of my favorite portraits from her that certainly will inspire you to shoot more often!


Alessandro Rochhi

One of the few real life photographers out there, Alessandro manages to capture things as they happen. And he also manages to portray life as it is. Few frills are added.

His recent series of an Italian summer beach holiday really got my attention and the image below is very indicative of his style. Enjoy



Simon Powell

Simon is more of a photographer of models, but I still think we can all learn something from him. His way of capturing the emotion of the moment really appeals to me, and perhaps will to you to.

Be sure to head over to his website when it is updated and see what he has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.


The end

Those are four of my favorite photographers that deal mainly with portraits and style. So if you want to learn a thing or two about photography then I recommend you follow their latest stuff as well.

You will not be disappointed that is for sure.

If you have any other suggestions for photographers that I would be following too, be sure to drop me a line.






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 Why Photography is here to stay


I have heard a lot of people pronounce the death of photography many times over the years.

Whether it was because of the invention of the computer, or now because of the cameras in smartphones.

People always find a reason why something’s time is up, and now is the new time of the …. insert your favorite new toy here.

But I strongly believe photography is here to stay. Of course I have a vested interest in it, but here are a few reasons why I think it is not going away anytime soon.

Reasons Photography Won’t Die

The number one reasons I think photography is here to stay are:

  • people love being in control of their own memories and experiences.
  • reminders of life’s best moments will always hang on your wall
  • art is continuously evolving, but still photography is one of the number one mediums

So why would you want to get involved in photography or even use photography for yourself?

Reasons to use Photography in your life

If you have a big event coming up you might want to record that momentous occasion in one form or another.

Video is a great medium for such things, but the problem is that no one has time to watch the whole even again, live.

So then you need to hire someone to take the video and condense it into the best moments. That can work, but what if some of the other best moments are lost?

That is when photography comes into it’s own. You can always take pictures of the most important parts of the event and then select yourself at a later date. Unlike with video, you do not need an editor, you can just use yourself.


One of the best ways to record a family’s growth is with the occasional portrait that you can hang on the wall.

Whether it is the birth of your chile, or an award or graduation. Portraits can be a fantastic momento that you can simply hang on the wall and remember forever.

I can help you remember

So if you need a professional to help you with your next life changing event or magical moment, you might want to get in touch and invite me to that event.

Not only will it be recorded forever, but I can portray you or your family at it’s best. Which is always something we want at such times in our lives.

Just head on over to my contact page, and send me a request. I will be in touch asap.

All the best


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