ApertureYou might have observed the aperture priority mode in the camera.

Many photographers know the use of this aperture mode, but do not understand what exactly aperture priority mode is.

When you see the technical specifications in digital camera, the first priority mode is the aperture: maximum aperture or the aperture range.

Aperture is one of the important elements in the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle is very important in yielding good photographs. The other components of the exposure triangle are ISO and shutter speed [Techniques to take sharp digital pictures].

What exactly is aperture?

If explained in simple terms: “aperture is the size of lens diaphragm opening when the image is taken”. If you can master the aperture, you can grasp the real creativity and control over the clarity of the images.

It is the size of the diaphragm opening which regulates the amount of light to pass through the lens to yield an image. When you hit the shutter button in the digital camera, a small hole is opened allowing the image sensors in the camera to catch the glimpse of the scene or the picture you want to capture.

Aperture is measured in ‘f’; you might have seen or heard photographers speaking about different ‘f’, for e.g.: f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/5.8, f/8, f/16 and f/22. Each aperture has different openings and different lens radius.

When you set the smaller aperture, the hole opens for a larger radius and when you set the aperture larger, the hole opens in a small radius.

The most confusing part of apertures is: The larger aperture is given a smaller number on the camera while the smaller aperture is given larger number on the camera. Do not go on numbers and remember that f/1.8 is larger than the f/22. Remember that f/22 will have a small opening and f/1.8 will have a big opening. So, when you are shooting pictures, make sure that you set the aperture correctly according to the need, remembering that the smaller aperture value on camera will have bigger opening.

Aperture and shallow depth of field:

ApertureYou can have a varied amount of results while changing the different apertures.

The smaller aperture number such as f/2.8 can cover only a small distance in the frame while a larger aperture number such as f/22 can capture wide range frames.

Remember f/2.8 is preferred for close-up shots, while f/22 is preferred for landscapes. So, depth of field (DOF) is the amount of shot that will be in focus.

For e.g., if the aperture is 2.8 while clicking the image of a flower, then the DOF will only highlight the flower while eliminating or overruling the background. If the aperture is f/22 while taking a landscape image, then the DOF will cover the background too and sees that the background is not out of focus.

Things to remember about aperture:

  • Larger maximum apertures (smaller number) allow more light to reach the image sensors. So, you need a faster shutter speed to freeze the action; neglecting can cause a blur in the photos.
  • Smaller minimum apertures (larger number) allow small light to reach the image sensors, which are preferred in sunny days. Slower shutter speed is preferred to capture the image perfectly.


  1. Thank you for this useful post.
    I usually take pictures in AUTO mode but I understand I can produce much more from it by learning the basica – like aperture and speed.

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