March 07, 2011

Aperture And Shutter Speed - Basics Of Digital Photography

Update: For more detailed explanation on aperture and shutter speed – do visit DSLR photography basics.
Aperture and shutter speed constitute the basics of digital photography. These two terms are the most sought after by almost all new digital camera owners who are trying to improve their photography skills. Gaining a better understanding of aperture and shutter speed basics definitely helps one to enhance his photography skills over time. So in this post i am going to discuss in detail about the basic concepts behind the two main photography pillars - Aperture and Shutter Speed.


It's somewhat akin to your pupil. Aperture shows how wide is your camera lens and how much light is exposing to it. Aperture is literally a hole through which light enters after it passes camera lens.The size of the hole can be altered to manage the amount of light being exposed to your camera sensors. Wide aperture means large amount of light is exposing to your camera sensors and small aperture means less light is exposing to your camera sensors. Aperture is used in conjugation with shutter speed and it is used to manage the depth of field.

Aperture is represented in the terms of F numbers. The greater is the number associated with F, the smaller will be the aperture. As you can see in the image aperture is largest in case of f2 and smallest in case of f16. Now a days almost all digital cameras provides an option to change aperture.  

wide and narrow aperture
The above image clearly explain the effects of wide aperture and narrow aperture.


Shutter Speed shows for how long the camera lens is exposed to the light. Suppose you want to click a fast moving vehicle or you need to capture the very detail of a falling star you need a wide aperture so that large amount of light is exposed to your camera lens.
The shutter speed scales engraved on the shutter speed dial of digital camera bodies with a shutter speed ring OR via some digital numerals on the LCD screen like: 1/8000, 1/4000, 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 etc.   
The above photo was provided by Kailyn Nickel of anewrebel while contributing a guest post here on - DSLR tips
Now that the effect of shutter speed is conspicuous, different shutter speed will yield different kind of photographic effect. Faster shutter speed will take the shot at that particular instant while the slower shutter speed will blur the image and shows the speed of movement of a particular subject.  If you want to shoot a trail of something such as a falling star then go for slower shutter speed and if you want to take the image at a particular instant such as sporty action then go for faster shutter speed.