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  • Writer's pictureRebekah

RCP Photography School: Aperture

Hello to all who’ve joined me on this 26 day challenge to learn about the basics of photography.

I’m sure you’ve seen so many opportunities over lockdown to learn new skills but I thought that you, as children, teenagers or people that need a therapy during lockdown for your mental health, would LOVE to do something creative and fun from a local photographer.

If you’re doing this course, you probably already know a little bit about me but if you don’t, please check out who I am.

Are you ready?

I’m starting off with...

A for Aperture

But what does that even mean?

You should have a digital camera handy to get familiar with this term.

Aperture is the term used for the opening of the lens - turn your camera around and have a look at the 'hole' in the lens. That is where you adjust it to allow little to a lot of light through that hole to help create a piece of art.

For example, to get a simple explanation, aperture works like this. You wake up during the night and walk towards your light switch - during that time, your pupils widen to allow as much light in as possible so that you can try and find that light switch (or maybe you have super powers and can find it with your eyes closed!)

This happens to the lens, and it's called aperture (or F-stop is another term for it). When the f-stop is a small aperture (large number), like f/9, then it allows less light in, meaning you have to fiddle with your other settings like ISO and shutter speed (we'll get to that!). However, when you go to a large aperture (small number) like f/1.8, then it allows more light in.

To get a better idea of this, switch your camera to AV mode on Canon (or A mode on Nikon), or if you have a good experience with cameras, why not try manual mode if you’re familiar with that.

Now, grab an object like a favourite teddy bear or a new toy you got for Christmas and bring it near a window.

You can get creative as possible (and I’d love to see your shots!) but position in a way that you have a little space around the object and it isn’t sitting against anything.

Using AV mode or M mode (you’ll need to yet your shutter speed and iso right for this) and using the wheel at the top of the camera (I use a Canon, so it’s usually closest to you with the shutter button at the front), take a photo of the object in the same place and framing it the same way (use a tripod if you need to or a table to set your camera on).

Change your aperture every few clicks and you’ll see a change in the focusing on the object. With f/1.4, you’ll see the area you’ve focused on when photographing the object sharper with the surrounding areas getting blurry. That’s a lovely effect when doing portraits or object shots. Keep going up in the numbers, meaning letting less light in, and once you hit around f/11 or f/16, the object should pretty much be completely in focus.

Now, flick through your images and see the change of focus. Look at the difference. Look at the image as the focus point on your object becomes the centre point of the image; the first place you look.

You’ve now mastered the basics of knowing what aperture means, what it looks like throughout the f-stops and how you can utilise that setting for not only objects but portraits too!

Here are a few examples of portraits...

Did you enjoy that? What did you photograph?

Please share in the comments or on social media!

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