Last week we talked about the basics of ISO. Who’s been practicing?! Today we’re going to chat about another major element of photography — f-stop or aperture. The camera’s f-stop refers to how big or small the aperture is and greatly effects an image’s depth of field (DOF).
A larger f-stop number (8.0) actually means the aperture size is smaller and lets in less light and a small f-stop (1.8) is actually a larger opening and will let in more light. While changing your aperture can drastically change the lighting, my primary use for changing and playing with the f-stop is getting a different depth of field in my images, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.
The easiest way to remember how the f-stop relates to the depth of field is to remember it like this:
Small F-stop number – Small or Shallow DOF
Large F-stop number — Large or Deep DOF
In these two images you can see the major difference that your aperture can make in the look and feel of an image.
F-stop 1.8 // You can see how the background is blurry and the focus is just on the first pomegranate
F-stop 8.0 // You can see that much more of the image is in focus here compared to the first and it’s a little grainier
In general, I lean towards using a smaller f-stop because I like the look of the blurred out background. Here I’ve used it in both food photography and a style shot to get a unique shot that lets the salad or product really shine and stand out!
So, get to practicing, but do remember that when you drastically change the f-stop, you also will need to change the other settings to get the lighting right! Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask here and I’ll do my best to answer!