January 10, 2011

Self-Taught Photography: Aperture

So I've been trying to teach myself how to use the digital camera we've had for three years now. It's finally time to move away from the "auto" setting and make use of all the great refining features we paid for. Figured I'd start out simple and learn what in the world "aperture" means since Photographer-Brother throws the word around so frequently.

I swear understanding did not sink in until I'd watched at least seven or eight different YouTube tutorials, listened to Miner try to explain it in twelve different ways, and drawing myself a little diagram and chart to memorize.

Epiphany. It finally clicked (no pun intended), and I THINK I get it now.

Greater aperture number (f-stop) = greater "depth if field" = greater area of focus.

Lesser aperture number = lesser "depth of field" = lesser area of focus.

In a sunflower-seed-shell: (re: focus) high f# INCLUDES, low f# ISOLATES.

Off-topic but not entirely unrelated...I learned the term "bokeh" ('bo' as in 'bone' -- 'keh' as in 'kennel') refers to the technique of photographing a foreground subject over a blurred background. This would best be achieved with a lower f-stop setting. Good for me to know, because I've always naturally tried to create the bokeh effect in pictures I've taken.

And I've also found a free autodidact-style website with free photography self-study articles -- PhotographyCourse.Net:



  1. I did not know that. Very good to know. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You get an A+ for your knowledge of aperture and depth of field. I've used bokeh techniques for years, but never knew there was a term for it. Thanks. Good luck shooting.