Photography Tips: A Blog Series for Beginners - Aperture II The Authentic Portrait

I've got something amazing I've been working on that I want to share with you guys. It's a 15-part series (every other week until October!) within the Authentic Portrait where we take a deeper look into using the manual mode of your camera. We'll go over things that have got you stumped, like aperture and white balance as well as some fun stuff like common mistakes you didn't realize you were making and how to look good in photos (don't we all need that?). we are talking about aperture! If you know a little bit about the basics of how a camera functions you'll know about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (and if not, hang around, those posts will be coming soon and I'll link back to them once they're published!).

They are the trifecta of photo making...

Huey, Dewey and Louie...

Dare I say the three musketeers !

They work together to make your photo exactly how you want it to look.. totally in focus, blurry, motion, frozen action, grainy, bright, dark... whatever you want, these guys have!


Aperture is how large or small the shutter opens.


It is measured in numbers called f-stops. The lower numbers like f2.8 and f1.4 mean the shutter is wide open letting tons of light in, and the higher numbers like f16 and f22 mean the shutter is only open a tiny bit, letting a very small amount of light in. 

Aperture affects photos in huge ways, it's how you get that gorgeous blurry background (also known as bokah, pronounced like Boca but without the retirees). To get photos that are sharply focused everywhere - perfect for landscape photos - you're going to want to use a higher aperture. 


Think of aperture like your eye pupil. When it's dark your pupil gets very large, and when it's very light, your pupil gets super small! 


Here are a few examples of different apertures of the same scene:

See the difference?! Crazy right!? Now let's see you try it!  


This is just one of the solid, easy to implement tips and tricks for photography that I talk about in The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s guide to Documenting Childhood, an ebook perfect for anyone who want to learn the basics of photography and improve their photos without spending hours and hours taking classes. Find out more here!

Play around with different apertures and let's see how the photos turn out! Share them with me over on Instagram in #TheAuthenticPortrait series, a series for learning and growing in photography.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with #TheAuthenticPortrait!