Before moving on to the next lesson, I thought it best to revisit Aperture and talk about it abit more.

First, let’s review:

Aperture = the size of the shutter (the opening that opens and closes to take the picture)  in your lens.

The lower the aperture the wider (or larger) the opening = lets more light in.  The smaller does the opposite = keeps light out (great for bright sun shiny days).

Depth of Field = the amount of your image that’s in focus from the foreground to the background.

A low aperture also creates a Shallow Depth of Field = that fuzziness or out of focus background behind your subject (the opposite is narrow).

Aperture is also referred to as the speed of your lens.  Low aperture lens = a fast lens;  higher aperture = slower lens.

Aperture also referred to as f/ stop.

Set your camera to the Av mode (Aperture Priority) to have control over your aperture setting depending on your picture situation.  Do you need more light? less light? a shallow or narrow depth of field, etc.?

While I’d rather you shoot (for now) in Av mode, here’s a freebie.  Look at your camera’s control dial.  Do you see all of the picture icons that circle the dial?  Look at the ‘head’ icon.  This represents the Portrait Setting on your camera.  It’s a fully automatic setting, but guess what it does?

Think about it.

It opens up your aperture as far as it will go for two reasons.  What are they?

1.  To allow as much light to hit your subject as possible (because as far as your camera knows, you’re taking a portrait of a single person).

2.  To create a Shallow Depth of Field (so the background will be blurred out to make your subject pop).

Get it??

BUT, here’s the caveat.  It’s still fully automatic.  You don’t have control.  Your camera is not as smart as you are and it still has it’s limitations while in the Auto Mode.


There is a great lens you can purchase for around $100 with a fast aperture of 1.8.  Canon and Nikon both make this fixed 50 mm f/1.8 awesome little lens.  (I’ve shot many, many pictures with it before graduating to the 50 mm f/1.4).

If you’re local to the Mobile area, Calagaz is a great camera store to support (and please tell them I sent you).  You can also order from B&H Photo or check out Amazon as well.

Here’s the Canon version at B&H.

Here’s the Nikon version at Amazon.

**Before you decide to purchase this lens, make sure it is compatible with your camera.  Let the sales rep know what camera you have and let them help you determine if this lens will work with it.**

Happy Shooting!

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