DSLRs come with a lot of additional features that many new photographers are not aware of. If taken off of automatic mode, they allow for the photographer to take much more control over their shooting than they normally would compared to a point-and-shoot or a cellphone camera. One of those features is the aperture.
Step 1: What Is Aperture?
The aperture is a ring in the lens that sits between the object that you are trying to shoot and the sensor of the camera. It can grow bigger or smaller to allow more or less light in. Another factor that it affects in your photo is the depth of field (how blurry the background is).
Step 2: Changing Mode and Adjusting Aperture
In order to make this tutorial easy, we are going to switch to AE Aperture Priority mode on our DLSR. In the case of Nikon or other non-Canon brands, you will be able to find an equivalent mode on your camera. What this mode does is allows for you to adjust the aperture while the camera would adjust the other settings (shutter, ISO, etc.) to compensate for your aperture changes. This would take a lot of the guesswork out of this tutorial and let us focus on just the aperture.
Scrolling using the scroll wheel, you would find that the aperture is changing. This is evident as the f-stop on your camera is changing. For example, it changes from f/1.4 to f/2, etc. The lower the number, the more light is let in (the bigger the hole). The higher the number, the less light is let in (the smaller the hole).
Step 3: Conclusion
That’s it! The lesson to take away is the higher the aperture (higher f-stop), the more in focus everything is. The lower the aperture (lower f-stop), the blurrier the background becomes. To take this into the next level, put the camera into full manual and try to set each setting manually to compensate for the aperture!