Introduction: Adjusting Aperture

"It's like the ABC's of photography!" Understanding the ABC's of camera settings (aperture, ISO, and shutter speed) is an essential part of a photographer's journey, but often simply adjusting one is a struggle. Learning anything for the first time can be a challenge, especially if you have to contend with what seems like hundreds of little buttons and switches. For many beginning photographers understanding how to adjust manual settings can be a headache, and sometimes the user manual just doesn't cut it. Being able to adjust aperture is the first step towards being a budding photographer!

Step 1: What You'll Need

In order to complete this tutorial you'll need:

  • A charged and on DSLR camera with lens (I'm shooting with a Canon t5 rebel, but any DSLR will allow you to adjust aperture).

Step 2: Getting to Aperture Priority Mode

As a beginning photographer it's likely your camera looks like the first photo: set to adjust all the settings on it's own, so all you have to do is press the shutter.

To have the ability to adjust aperture your camera must be in aperture priority mode or manual mode. For ease while learning how to adjust aperture you'll use aperture priority mode. On Canon and Pentax models, this is dictated by "AV" on the mode wheel, but most other camera manufacturers call this mode "A" (Grunin).

To get to AV/A mode all you have to do is spin your mode wheel till the white line aligns with the AV/A symbol on your mode wheel, to look like the second photo.

Step 3: Switching Aperture

You're halfway there! Now that the camera is in aperture priority mode, you can adjust the f/stop of your camera.

In order to bump your aperture up or down, you'll need to move the click wheel to the left or right. On this camera the click wheel is just above the flash button, and leftwards movement pulls the f/stop down, while rightwards movement pushes the f/stop up. Since many camera models are different it's best to check your user manual or Google if you can't find the click wheel on your camera quickly.

It's important to note that since your camera is in AV/A mode the camera is adjusting all of the other settings. This will allow you to practice understanding how aperture works without worrying about your other settings. Congrats! You can now shoot with a manually set aperture!