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Aperture Creative Uses

Understanding Aperture Creative Uses for Beginners

In last article I explained what Aperture is and how it works. Now it’s time to look at Aperture Creative Uses.

Aperture not only controls the exposure, it also controls the Depth Of Field.

Aperture Creative Uses

Aperture Controls the Depth Of Field

Let’s go to Wikipedia again for a basic definition of Depth of Field (DOF):

“In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF), also called focus range or effective focus range, is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance, so that within the DOF, the unsharpness is imperceptible under normal viewing conditions.”

When considering depth of field the basic thing to remember is that the higher the f-stop number is, the more elements in the scene will be in focus.

Another Creative uses of Aperture is to make a shallow DOF to get the attention to the element of your choice.

What are the uses of DOF in photography?

Depth of Field has many creative uses in photography. For instance when composing landscape pictures, you want to have as much in-focus elements to show the beauty of the scene:

Long DOF

Higher f number means longer Depth Of Field. Very useful in Landscape Photography
Higher f number means longer Depth Of Field. Very useful in Landscape Photography

On the other hand, in portrait photography you want your viewers to pay attention to your subject only, not the surrounding elements.

Shallow DOF

Shallow Depth Of Field is widely used for portrait photography
Shallow Depth Of Field is widely used for portrait photography

By controlling the DOF you can draw your viewer’s attention to a part of the image or the whole scene. Our brains like to look at sharp and focused images, so if there are elements in the photo which are out of focus, our brain does not usually notice them. See the example below:

Notice the shallow depth of field and how other elements in the photo are out of focus.

Another popular creative use of aperture is to use a high f-stop (narrow aperture) such as f16 or f22 which turns small light sources into a “Starburst” effect

Starburst

cropped

A discussion on creative uses of aperture wouldn’t be complete without looking at using a lower f-stop (wider opening) such as f1.8 or f2.8 to achieve small blurred circles of light patterns, commonly known as the Bokeh effect:

Bokeh Effect

Very shallow and creamy background. Thanks to Bokeh effect
Very shallow and creamy background. Thanks to Bokeh effect

What is the Bokeh effect?

Wikipedia defines Bokeh effect as:

“In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting, “good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.”

Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.

Bokeh Effect

DSC_6066

That wraps up this article. These are some rules for understanding the exposure in photography. There are many more techniques in Shutter Speed and Aperture settings that we cover them in our Photography classes. Check our Upcoming Classes for more information, and as always feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for new tutorials and tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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