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There are a number of results of changing the aperture of your shots that you’ll want to keep in mind as you consider your setting but the most noticeable one will be the depth of field that your shot will have.
Depth of Field (DOF) is that amount of your shot that will be in focus.
Keep in mind that a change in shutter speed from one stop to the next doubles or halves the amount of light that gets in also – this means if you increase one and decrease the other you let the same amount of light in – very handy to keep in mind).
One thing that causes a lot of new photographers confusion is that large apertures (where lots of light gets through) are given f/stop smaller numbers and smaller apertures (where less light gets through) have larger f-stop numbers.
Similarly this creative birth announcement image was shot at f1.8 and again you see the shallow depth of field with the ultrasound in focus but everything else blurred. Large aperture (remember it’s a smaller number) will decrease depth of field while small aperture (larger numbers) will give you larger depth of field.
It can be a little confusing at first but the way I remember it is that small numbers mean small DOF and large numbers mean large DOF.
Small (or shallow) depth of field means that only part of the image will be in focus and the rest will be fuzzy (like in the portrait at the top of this post.
Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and Snapn Deals.
If you can master aperture you put into your grasp real creative control over your camera.
In my opinion – aperture is where a lot of the magic happens in photography and as we’ll see below, changes in it can mean the difference between one dimensional and multi dimensional shots.
The f/2.8 shot on the right has the left flower in focus (or parts of it) but the depth of field is very shallow and the background is thrown out of focus and the bud to the right of the flower is also less in focus due to it being slightly further away from the camera when the shot was taken.
The best way to get your head around aperture is to get your camera out and do some experimenting.