In this post, I am going to talk about how to use and understand the F stop or aperture in photography. The best way to think about is to look at it like the iris of your eye. When it is dark outside or in your room at night your iris opens up wider to let more light in. Consequently, your iris closes to allow less light in when you are in a brightly light area or outside. However, the aperture has more functionality then just the amount is exposed to your camera’s sensor or film if you still use it.
The aperture plays a large part in what is in focus when taking a photograph. The larger the aperture or F stop number the more that will be in focus. Whereas the smaller the F stop number the shallower the depth of field becomes. So if you were looking to take a breathtaking picture of this sweeping landscape, then you would want to use a higher F stop like between 8 and 13 depending on how much you want in focus and distance related to the subject. Same goes for taking a portrait with that blurry looking background. A smaller number say, 2.8 or lower, will help you achieve a shallower focusing field. This allows your subject to be in focus and the background less important and in focus. But there are a few tricks that can also help you achieve a blurry background at a higher F stop.
One trick that I use often and that is severely under used is the manual focus option. Yes this is much harder but when used right and practiced it can be extremely useful. Using manual focus allows you to pinpoint your focus on a particular point in the frame. So even at a higher F stop like 5.6 or 6.3 on some lenses, that bokeh effect can still be achieved.
Another great tip for utilizing your F stops is when shooting into the sun. I do not recommend doing this unless on purpose or unavoidable, however, here is a tip to giving the exposure an artistic look or flair. Try using a slower shutter speed and putting your F stop up to 16, 18 or 20. What this will do is give the sun that starburst look! It can really make a difference sometimes in your photos.
Thank you for reading and check out some of my work at http://www.viewbug.com/member/jarrodames