Small adjustments yield big differences in photography. Adjusting your DSLR’s settings can have a butterfly effect, each adjustment needing to be compensated for by adjusting another setting to dial in the perfect exposure, the aperture dial is no different. If you are unfamiliar with the relationship between aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO you should really check out this simple guide.
We adjust the aperture of the camera for a few reasons but the main two are: increasing or decreasing the amount of light entering and/or the depth of field. In the photos on this page you can see the relationship the aperture has with the shutter speed as well as the depth of field. The photo at the top is using a wider aperture (lower f/ number) to let more light in and decrease the depth of field to blur the background slightly. Doing this calls attention to the flowers at the top left of the image as well as creating a pleasant, soft, background.
The photograph below is using a slightly smaller aperture (higher f/ number) which has increased the depth of field creating a sharper background and taking the focus away from anything in particular. The smaller aperture also lets less light enter the camera and needs to be compensated by lowering the shutter speed of the camera (in this example the shutter speed went from 1/350 sec in the top photo to 1/55 sec in the bottom photograph with the smaller aperture).
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