If you want to understand aperture, there are countless videos online to help you out. We understand why. It’s a tricky concept for beginners because there are three different ways to gauge it—aperture (wide or narrow), f-stops (big or small) and depth of field (shallow or deep)—and they don’t make immediately logical sense. Thankfully, wedding photographer Khara Plicanic has created an extremely simple, plain-English video that explains it all:
Plicanic’s lecture is nice because of its simplicity. For example, she plainly compares aperture to the pupils in your eyes: when in a dark room, your pupils dilate, just as your lens need to open up wider to get more light in dark scenarios.
As for remembering which one creates a shallow depth of field (i.e. a blurry background), there’s another real-life correlation; when you’re trying to spy something in the distance, you squint your eyes. Likewise, a deep depth of field—that is, when more is in focus—requires a narrow aperture.
The last aspect is the f-stop. Many beginning photographers, she notes, confuse which f-stops refer to wider apertures. Because they’re measured in fractions, the larger numeral—f/16, say—is actually a smaller number, whereas f/4 (one fourth) is larger because it is a fraction.
So remember: The smaller the f-stop (think fractions!), the narrower the aperture, the deeper the depth of field.
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: