Understanding aperture and shutter speed.

Learn how these two camera settings can drastically change your final images.

Aperture and shutter speed are the two most commonly adjusted camera settings in any kind of photography. The better you understand what they are and how they can change your images, the more creative control you will have over your photography.

What is aperture?

The aperture is the part of your lens that controls how much light gets inside your camera. Its size is measured in f stops: The smaller your f stop number, the wider your aperture is open.

By changing your aperture, you not only control the brightness of your image but also its depth of field, which refers to how much of your image appears in focus. The smaller your f stop, the narrower your depth of field: Only a small part of your image will be in focus.

You can use a wider aperture to create images where only your subject is in focus and the rest of the image falls away into a blur. This is a technique popular with portrait photographers. Alternatively, use a narrower aperture to keep more of your image in focus.

What is shutter speed?

Shutter speed is how fast or slow your camera’s shutter closes when taking an image. Shutter speed controls how much light can enter your camera, which ultimately affects whether motion captured in your images appears sharp or blurry. You can use a faster shutter speed to freeze motion or a slower one to create interesting motion blur effects.

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