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Aperture: Letting in Light
When you change your aperture setting, what are you adjusting? How do f-stops figure in? How do you enhance your depth of field? Find out with Groupon's quick-snap guide to apertures.
To understand aperture, photographers like to say, one must picture water dripping from a leaking bucket. The size of the hole in the bucket determines how much water escapes; as the hole gets larger, more and more water comes pouring out at once. Aperture is like the hole in the bucket—its size determines how much light will pass onto the film. Five to nine blades create this peephole at the lens’s opening and are completely adjustable to the photographer’s liking. The aperture range—or degree of adjustability—is typically etched into the lens itself in a variable called f-stops, with larger f-stop values representing smaller apertures and vice versa.
Aperture is the main component in creating the desired depth of field for any given image. When a camera is set with a large aperture, more light will filter through the lens to create a smaller depth of field, pulling only a portion of the image into focus and leaving the remainder of the shot artfully blurred. The exact same shot taken with a smaller aperture will result in a larger depth of field with all planes captured in focus.