• Virginia Photos and Films

PHOTO 101: Understanding What Aperture is



Did you know that the difference between "professional" looking and an amateur photo is not only the lighting, but the blurryness in the background?

This background blur is called "bokeh." The creamier your photo is, the better! If not, your photo might be confused with a cell phone picture!

How do you get it? Well, first, get a prime lens. Sell your kit zoom lens that came with your camera on ebay for $150, a get something else! You'll never go back! A prime lens is a lens that DOES NOT zoom. Like a 50mm 1.8, or a 35mm 1.8. the "mm" stands for the distance. The bigger the number, the closer up you are to your picture.

The aperture is how big your camera lens opens to get as much light as possible inside your camera. It's kind of like your pupils that dilate to get in more light as you go into a dark room.


The smaller the number on your aperture, the more creamy your background can be. That is why a kit lens only allows f3.5 or higher. My 50mm 1.4 can go all the way down to 1.4!

This type of lens is also great to shooting in very dark rooms!


Here is another example of this while my son was playing. The first photo was taken with f16 and the image underneath was taken at f2. What a difference!


But, understanding the exposure triangle is crucial for going "manual" on your camera. (click the links for videos that explain.)

If you just adjust your aperture, you MUST adjust your ISO (dark sensitivity) and your shutter speed (how fast your camera takes a picture).


Here is an example of what happens when you don't adjust the other things.


Or you can edit them out- but your image quality will suffer!!!


So get a prime lens, start shooting with aperature 1.8 (or up to 2.8) and start practicing!

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I would love for you to let know if any of these tips have helped you in your photography journey!

Christal

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