Aperture – F-Stop – Depth of Field
So, ya wanna dip your toes into Manual Mode, eh? OK, you gotta start somewhere, so let’s start with Aperture. DSLR, iPhone, Android, doesn’t matter, everyone can still play at this point.
What the hell is Aperture?
Simply, Aperture is the hole on your lens that the light travels through. Aperture is measured in F-Stops, where the lower the F-Stop number, the bigger the hole. (Now, before I get too weird here, there are different things you can do with F-Stops, today, we are going to focus on Depth of Field… hehe, I said focus)
Why, why am I doing this?
Because you are a nerd, and because you want to learn something new fun and different, ok? OK! Photographers use Depth of Field to draw attention to the subject of their photo. Let’s take Ganesha here. Ganesha is the Hindu Diety that is best known for removing obstacles, so I like to have him around, cause you never know when an obstacle is just going to pop up out of nowhere. Say I want to take a picture of Ganesha for my friends that have no idea who he is. I take him out to the beach and whammo, pic!
That’s cool and all, a little dark, but cool. But now, my non-Hindu loving friend asks are we talking about the elephant looking thing or the rock behind it? So I take another pic utilizing my new found skills of depth of field by utilizing f-Stops to make sure that the picture I send him leaves no questions about what I am trying to convey, and shazam!
Now my friend knows what I am trying to convey. I blurred out the background leaving Ganesha as the sole focus of the picture. Same camera, same lens, just changed the f-stop is all…
OK, how do I do this?
Depends on what you have in hand, really. If you have a dslr, cruise over to the “M” part of the dial and find out where to manipulate the f-stop. The lower the F-Stop number, the shallower the Depth of field will be (The second pic) because it will focus on the one area. The higher the F-Stop, the more it will try to focus on everything. (Pro Tip, the closer you are to the focus object, the more pronounced the background blur will be)
If you are using a phone, there are android and iPhone apps out there that have manual controls, I will post some in the comments section