When I first started reading about the settings on cameras, and what each of them did, I found the following:
aperture controls the area over which light can enter your camera.
The explanation that went with that statement was somewhat vague, and even moreso to a novice who was trying to get into photography on a serious level. It went on to describe how the larger the hole the more light that gets in – the smaller the hole the less light.
To me, that translated to brighter or darker. I mean, more light means brighter, less light is darker. Right? Duh?
Yea, um…..no. Let me show you.
Aperture settings are measured in f-stops. An f-stop of 1.8 is larger than an f-stop of 22. The above photo was shot with an f-stop of 2.8. Notice that the lilies in the background are blurred and undefined. The focus is on the flower in the center and foreground.
The photo above was shot with the aperture set at f/13. See how the lilies are much clearer and sort of distracting in this shot.
F/1.8 was the setting for the above.
Aperture (with the house very clear in the background) for this is f/16.
When you shoot in “Aperture Priority”, you control the f-stops and the camera will set the shutter speed. The reverse is true when you set it to “Shutter Priority”. On most cameras, these are the settings indicated by “A” and “S” on the dial, respectively.
Armed with this knowledge, get out of Auto or Program mode, and start shooting better pictures. Improve your photography skills and experiment with what YOU can do rather than what your camera can do for you.