Getting to know your camera and aperture

To kick start the first week of shutterbugs we explored your camera and some of the things it might be helpful to know.

We looked quickly at what you will find inside your view finder. We located the aperture setting as this is what you’ll be focusing on this week.

Where to find the Aperture Setting

This week you have your camera set to Aperture Priority or AV and you may not see the exposure meter appear or change as this is a semi automatic setting and your camera is doing all the work in picking the perfect exposure for you. Your aim this week is to focus your attention on aperture and understanding how it can effect your image.

We also quickly located the shutterspeed setting

Shutterspeed Setting

just remember to keep an eye on the shutterspeed this week and make sure it doesn’t drop below 60 when you choose your aperture. You will find your images could start getting blurry. If this happens find a better lit situation to take your photo.

We also talked about being in control of the focusing point in your camera. We turned off the dynamic focusing and turned on spot focusing. Where you can toggle between each focus point to make sure your camera picks focus from the most important part of your image. Feel free to turn dynamic focusing back on when shooting quick moving subjects if you don’t feel you are quite fast enough to focus this way on your own yet. Although the more you use your camera with dynamic focus off the quicker you will get at it. Don’t forget to half press your shutter button (the button you use to take photos) for your camera to grab focus.

Focus Points points inside your view finder


Then we talked in depth about aperture and how this can enhance and affect your images. Aperture refers to a setting on your lens and is how much light is allowed to enter your camera. In essence this is controlled by a hole that changes size. It is measured in fractions, this is indicated by the F you see next to the numerical value. If you look at the table below you will see what size hole each number represents.

Aperture Settings

Aperture can do a couple of things, firstly it helps you control your exposure. It also gives you control over depth of field, which means the depth of your photo that is in focus. To achieve a small depth of field (small amount of the image in focus) use a small aperture number, to get a large depth of field (large amount of the image in focus) use a large aperture number. As you experiment you will find if you have a low light situation it is easier to shoot with a shallow depth of field. This is because a shallow depth of field is achieved by letting more light enter your camera.

Depth of Field related Aperture

As a general rule of thumb remember SMALL aperture number, SMALL depth of field, LARGE Aperture number, LARGE depth of field.

A small aperture setting will give you a small depth of field.

Shallow Depth of Field - F1.8

Foreground Shallow Depth of Field

A large aperture setting will give you a larger depth of field.

Large Depth of Field in a Christain Fletcher Landscape

Large Depth of Field is important when Shooting Large Groups

Using aperture to control Depth of Field is a way to have creative control over your image. There isn’t really any right or wrong its open to your creative interpretation. Here you can see one scene (a rockin’ Amy Atlas Party) shot with various apertures/depths of field, each image is successful in it’s own right.

One Scene shot with Varying DOF

This week to help you grasp the concept of Aperture and Depth of Field and how they relate I want you to focus on photographing

1. an image with shallow depth of field

2. an image with a large depth of field

3. and finally take an photograph you like consciously using depth of field to enhance your image or the message you want to send with your photograph.

Make sure you try to maintain a shutterspeed of above 60. To do this you will need to shoot your subject in a well lit area, near a window or outside in the shade.

Don’t forget to bring them next week (good and bad) to discuss, either bring your laptop (or similar) or put your files on a thumb drive and we can look at them on my laptop.


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