{Photography} A Look At Aperture in Manual Mode

 Yes, I did it…I said the “M” word…manual mode!  All of the pictures I take with my Nikon are in manual mode.  It took a long time for me to be able to use it because I depended on my husband to do the settings for me but now I don’t like not being able to manual mode!  This is not going to be a technical post but rather I want to try to explain what Aperture means to me.  Here is the top of my camera with some labels so that you have a visual of what I am talking about.  And you’ve hear of The Pioneer Woman, right?  Of course you know P Dub…well she has an explanation of Aperture on her site that you should check out.

 The way I think about aperture is that

the larger the number (f-stop) the larger the focus area will be

And the opposite of that is

the smaller the number the smaller the area of focus area will be.

On my Nikon, I turn the Front Dial to the right to make the number bigger and to the left to make it smaller.

I know that is not the professional way to describe it and that doesn’t matter to me.  This is how I think about it.  I’ve read books, took some classes and had my husband try to explain it but I had to get it straight in my head.  Trying to remember that when the aperture opening is large the focus is more narrow messes me up.  The way I remember it is the smaller number/larger number.

Alrighty, adjusting the aperture allows me to take a photo of a clear subject with a fuzzy background (narrow depth of field).  This was taken at f-5…a small number and a small area of the picture is in focus. 
I turned the Front Dial to the right to set the aperture to a larger number:  f-10.  Now a bit more of the other leaves and the background is in focus.
And as I move the aperture to f-16 the background is a little more in focus.
This picture I took at f-20. By the way, my 80 year old neighbor was out in his backyard mowing the grass and my camera is pointed right at his yard!  So, I was really trying to hurry and I’m pretty sure he thinks I’ve lost it…maybe he is right!
And the last image is at f-25.  In this one you can all of the leaves on this branch, see the trees in the background and even see that there is a shed back there.

Here are all of the pictures grouped together so you can see the changes.  As the number got larger the area of the picture that is clear is larger.

In manual mode, we also have to talk about shutter speed, ISO and then I will show you have awesome it is to use the meter on your camera!  But in order for the meter to make sense, I wanted to talk about aperture & shutter speed.  So, next week’s photography post will be shutter speed explained in my simple terms.  Let me know if you have any questions about aperture.

Check out my other photography posts here.

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Comments

  1. You have explained this so well, thank you! I really need this!

  2. Awesome description. Finally makes sense to me C:

  3. I like that you didn’t explain it “professionally” since I am definitely not a professional. Your pictures spoke 1000 words in explanation though. Thanks :)

  4. Can I just tell you how awesome this is! Please keep up with this awesome (original) series idea! Pinning this now

  5. I’m in the midst of taking an online photo 101 class and I think you explained this better than they did! I’m so scared of manual mode :)

  6. Thank you so much for your explanation of the camera setting in layman’s terms! I have read so many explanations and tutorials in books and videos, yet I didn’t fully comprehend until I read your photo tips. Again, thanks for the simplistic photography posts!

  7. This is THE best explanation of aperture I have ever read. You write the way I think. Thank you SO much!

    FYI, I found your blog via someone’s Pinterest of gift ideas, which led me to a post with a link to your [everything] in a jar tutorial. I’m subscribed now. :-)

  8. gloria graham says:

    Thank you so much for your explanation of the camera setting, understand it much better.

  9. gloria graham says:

    Good explanation of the camera setting, understand it much better.

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