What Is An Aperture – Is it Important?

See Aperture Of My Lens Nikkor

I was a kid when I heard about the aperture from my father, he explained to me the aperture found in the lens of the camera. What is an aperture look like? An this is :

  • A circle or hole.
  • Adjustable size.
  • Built-in blades 7 or 9. (tiny blades forming into circle)

My father removed the attached lens in the camera body and he showed me at the back of the lens and he pointed  his finger then he said this is the Aperture (sometimes he called this the “Opening.”)

A small like hole in the center, but it can be adjusted to large opening, and as he twisted the surface of the lens back and forth, and I see that the opening (Aperture) is changing the size.

I see those demonstrate of the Aperture, but I am not sure what to do when taking pictures, still I don’t really understand as a kid how to use the Aperture, only these days that I have fully understand that there is a relationship between the shutter speed and the ISO. It is also known as the Exposure Triangle in photography.

Is There any Other Aperture look like?

Let’s first see the Aperture means.

Aperture Means from Webster
from Webster Dictionary

Generally speaking, apertures can be in any form as it is changeable or adjustable. Whether it is square, rectangular, oval, or circle. Depend the use what particular kind of device or unit. In the lens we have round shape. This lens is built of measurement in the aperture, known as the f stops. 

If you look closely inside the lens in the aperture edge it is build in thin blades formed in circular that works together at the same time as you rotate the lens ring surface, by your thumb and Index finger.

Large Opening example f/1.4 up to f/5.6.. More light receive coming into the image sensor.

Let me explain to you the aperture from my own experience on how to use this in shooting. First, we have to understand two things, and this is the LIGHT (light of inside and out) of the camera, and the APERTURE .

  1. LIGHT

Okay, do you have a window in your house? Of course yes, you have. I think all people that have a house there’s window.

And what do you do, in your window? The use of our window is to open and close, right?

Then, when we open the window we need the light to come in, to our room and we need that amount of light in our room.

And if the light is to much bright to see, what we are going to do?

What do we do, is to close the window in half to reduce the light, it is because we don’t want that much bright light that could irritate to our eyes.

Aperture and Light

It is the same thing with the lens and the window that we talked about here, and about the amount of light that lights comes in.

And we are adjusting the window by half close for a reason that we need the amount of light. The window to understand is our aperture now, we can call it also this the opening.

This aperture or opening is adjustable in the lens, we can open wider the opening or smaller opening.

In digital camera or DSLR we can adjust this setting in the lens or in your LCD screen with character of f/1.4 and up to f/22 to infinite.

Now, in the lens aperture and this aperture is round or circle and as you rotate the surface of the lens and looking inside the lens you can see the opening is changing to wider or smaller opening.

And in the lens you will find numbers, if you notice that the following numbers are fraction of almost “2” to the following numbers and so forth. It is likely from f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 or more.

You know what, if you can memorize this numbers of f stops is much better.

And of course you will. Every using the camera you can memorized it.

Let’s talk more about f stops. 

But what is (f)? / number ?. F is the Focal length of your lens.

Most manual lens you will find f/stops written on the surface of the lens.

Focal length is the size of apertures of your lens each number and when you start this, adjust the aperture by rotating the lens what size you want.

It means focal length is the distance, the center of the lens or the curve mirror and its focus.The F/number or focal ratio or f-ratio or f-stop is called in photography.

For example f/5.6 or f/11 or f/16 etc. Now every number you used to choose it will change the opening size.

But you should remember that if you choose f/1. 4 it is fully open, (more light to come in or more exposure) you can check the lens try to see, so that you will know.

Now, if you choose this f/11 it is smaller opening, again check with the lens how it will look like. Notice? The increase number is the smaller opening. The lower number is wider opening.

Imagine the light… to the lens.

Imagine the light through your lens, the light travels through your lens, imagine that as you press your shutter in camera you allow the amount light to come in, going to image sensor.

Okay, as you imagine the light travels through your lens, as long as you do not press the Shutter button the light will not pass through the sensor image. So, the control is your shutter.

Remember that the Shutter speed is important, whether you set your shutter speed to be faster or slower.

So the Shutter speed controls the amount of light to receive into the image sensor.

Now, how your photograph image looks.

One important rule is the shutter speed. Shutter speed that you select is what you get into the exposure.

Depending upon the environment and the surrounding light availability. Feel the light (is it heavy light or is it low light).

You have to remember that the shutter controls the entering light. If your shutter speed is extremely fast, the amount of light receives little quantity of light, in the sensor image will collect to read.

Because of so quick, the open and closed of the Shutter the light amount contol perfectly. Like for example 1/4000 s (second). This is very fast.

Remember that before shooting the subject, you have to aware of the surrounding light that will expect to receive into your lens. How much light is that. And how you need your shutter speed is to set. Is to control.

Aperture relationship with the Shutter.

Now you have basic knowledge of the Shutter ability whether you set faster or slower shutter.

Here I am going to walking you through the aperture and the Shutter.

As I mentioned above the Aperture is like a window that open and close, whether you open a half of your window or you fully open the window in order to allow you the light to come in as you do to press the Shutter.

The light will come in when you do press the Shutter. The Shutter stands for a gate pass of light to the sensor image. The Sensor image is the receiver of light outside or a subject you are taking pictures from shutter mechanism.

You know that in the lens and camera body has truly been a relationship. The aperture and Shutter are both controlling the light.

In the aperture you can adjust the window or opening to open a wider or half close, to allow the light. The Shutter you can adjust speed to a faster or slower setting to allow you the light to come in, going to the image sensor.

If your shutter is fast, then the amount of light is little received in the image sensor. It is because of too fast.

When you press the shutter button it open and close very quick so the light did not stay long there, because it controls very quickly close on the reflex mirror.

So imagine – Light outside(subject) + Aperture(opening) + Shutter(speed shot, gate pass, reflex mirror open and close) + ISO(light sensitivity) = image sensor(Finish image).

So these are the components that you need for your dslr camera as a photographer. Practice is the most important thing to be perfectly for your every photo.

You can take a shot as you want. Do some setting if not good, until you understand how it can come to see the image is soft.

How to look Great Pictures

To look the great image is your judgments. The basic thing you should know to avoid in the image is under exposure or over exposure.

Look at the clarity of the whole image at first sight, look at the center subject you want to standout. It should be the subject is not darker and the background is not over exposure.

Depending on what you need to standout. You have a lot to think as you want, move your position, find better angle, as it gives the creativity, artistic, seems it gives you small story.

Okay, let’s go back to Aperture.

I have the explanation above about the aperture, now I give you more understanding here about the aperture. Please don’t be irritated me for repeating 🙂

I will try my best to teach you step by step in order to make sure and confident in these way you are able to understand better as a beginner like me before.

Aperture Exercises

Let’s try an example, we will experiment one setting of Aperture(opening). When you set up your Aperture, what’s the Shutter speed and ISO should be done.

Here is the figure that you can see. Effect in the Exposure.

  • f/8 and f/16 – If you are in the sunny area outside. Small opening aperture. Faster shutter speed from 1/125s and so on.
  • f/4 and f/2.8 – it is gives you the same exposure value as a 1/50s or 1/100s shutter speed. No sun. Inside house. Covered courts.
  • f/2 – gives correct exposure to 1/200s shutter speed. No sun. Under the shadow high building’s.
  • f/5.6 – normally aperture with the shutter speed of 1/25s. Slower shutter. Inside a house. Nights or use flash connect to the camera. Use tripod.

Example #1. Aperture…. f/5.6 (f/stops). Please find the f/5.6 in the illustration. What opening look like.

(pictures of Aperture f/5.6 opening)

Your shutter speed…..1/60 s (one per 60 of seconds speed shot) the speed of one shot. Meaning, before the (1) one second ends in fraction of a second (1/60s).

Light is the whole story to begin with the three – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

So the availability of the light is to look first or feels your surroundings light, then you will know how to use the aperture size you want.

It is the same with shutter speed and ISO. Before you start your shutter speed you need to know how much light is that, example “I can reduce the speed Shutter so that light travels inside my lens perhaps it needs.”(mostly performs in dark place or lack of light presence). But take note below says that :

ISO Reminder
The ISO habit of the sensitivity of light as you increase in most applications more than 3200 ISO the “noise started to appear”. A professional Photographer maintains the ISO as low as possible to avoid much noise in the picture.

The same with ISO. Your ISO is the sensitivity to light that need in the photo. And by adjusting the ISO you should know the availability of light from your surroundings area that can reach your lens affecting sensitivity of light.

You do not need to increase your ISO if the light outside is bright, meaning filled already with light. You could make increasing the ISO when little too darker of your subject is to take the picture.


If you have any questions about the aperture or anything please leave me below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Your Friend,





6 comments on “What Is An Aperture – Is it Important?

  1. Hi, Ed,

    Interesting article. I just bought my first DSLR camera and am trying to learn how to use it. There are many unknown terms to me. Your explanation is simple and clear. I will be checking out your other articles. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi, Enrique. Thanks for visiting my site, you can check anytime. I continue writing and adding information other pages and making to post it this week about shutter speed, hope I can finish.

      You’re welcome Enrique.


  2. Hi! I took 3 semesters of black and white in college and I fell in love with photography! Those were the days of darkrooms and developing your own film. I miss that. It was so therapeutic. I love your explantation of aperture. It can be confusing until you get some hands on experience, but you really explained it well. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome Virginia. Yes, same to me. I miss those days developing film in darkroom. But if you notice the process result, is the same when taking pictures outside. While in darkroom you are controlling also film and postcards to not under or overexposed.

      Thanks a lot for reading, Virginia.


  3. Amazing article. I had heard of aperture and shutter speed, but never understood what they meant. You really clarified it for me. I almost understand now why it takes longer for the picture to “snap” on my camera phone when the flash is on. I’ll never complain about it again. Just sigh.

    1. Thanks Cathy,
      I’m glad that you had enjoyed reading and understand the aperture. It can be in any camera either small or big lens. Aperture size can tell the image result, most auto mode shooting the sensor work to identify the amount of light that available.


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