One Simple Aperture Exercise You Can Do Today!

Having a little trouble getting your head around Aperture and Depth of Field?

Don’t worry, it happens to us all!

But it’s SO worth taking the time to understand completely, because the aperture you choose can have a BIG impact on your images (as you’re about to see)

So what we’re going to do today is an exercise that can help you see how different apertures affect how your image LOOKS.

Ready? Let’s go!

Learn all about aperture with this easy to follow aperture and depth of field exercise! | Beginner Photography Tips | Aperture Exercise | Aperture Cheat Sheet | Aperture Priority Mode

Step One:

The first thing I want you to do is grab three smallish objects - I'm using Zombie figures (as you do) but anything you have lying around will be fine! So stuffed toys, ornaments, lego figures are all good.

Next, get yourself in a room that has a large window and set yourself up near it. If that’s not possible, feel free to go outside (just watch the wind won’t knock your figures over!)

Basically you want somewhere that has plenty of natural light.

Step Two:

Next, we’re going to line up our three objects from front to back.

So put one object in the middle, then one behind but slightly to the left hand side, and then one in front of that middle figure, but slightly to the right. Each one should have a little bit of distance between them, and you should be able to see all three in your viewfinder.

(If that was as clear as mud, here’s a little birds eye view of your set-up)


Step Three:

Now that we have our objects set up, it’s time to set the camera up!

You are going to use Aperture Priority Mode for this, so turn your dial at the top of your camera away from AUTO (yay!!) and to Av if you use Canon or A if you use Nikon.

Unless you are happy choosing your own ISO set it to AUTO, so that camera will take care of your shutter speed and ISO for you - and the only thing you are controlling is the Aperture.

It would be a damn good idea to download my aperture priority cheat sheet right about now. It’s an 8 page guide and cheat sheet gives you loads of information about Aperture & Depth of Field, plus a step by step guide to shooting in Aperture Priority Mode, along with a cheat sheet that has some suggested “numbers” for you for your Aperture setting, and also for ISO and Shutter Speed too. Go here to grab it!

Then choose the largest aperture you can use (so the smallest F number) This is determined by your lens not by your camera, so this number will be different for everybody. If you have a kit lens, this is likely to be F3.6 or similar. If you grabbed yourself a nifty fifty lens (aka the Canon or Nikon 50mm F1.8) then that will be F1.8.

Step Four:

Now, focus on the figure that is in front, as I’ve done in the image below (I’m using F1.6)

You can see that as with my example, everything behind this front figure is soft, blurred and out of focus. In fact, the depth of field is so shallow, that even his body is actually starting to blur, so I have just a teeny tiny area in focus.


Step Five:

Now we are going to move through to some smaller apertures, so that you can see the difference in the background.

If you were at F1.8 for the first image, move to something like F3.2, then F6.3, then F11 and then F16.

Obviously, if you were at F3.6 to begin with, move to F6.3 and so on - keep moving up through the aperture numbers regardless of which number you start with.

The smallest aperture you can use (biggest F number) again depends on your lens, so if you can go farther, say F22, please do so!

Here’s my example images:

This is mine at F3.2:


And then F6.3:


And then F11:


And finally, F16:


As you look through these, you’ll see that as the aperture gets smaller (by using our bigger F number each time) the background becomes more and more in focus.

This my friend, is depth of field in action!

Hopefully from this exercise, you can see just how much creative control you can have just by choosing ONE element of the exposure triangle can give you!

If you want to take it to the next level, then be sure to download my comprehensive 8 page Aperture Priority Mode Cheat Sheet - it has suggested Aperture numbers for you, but also shutter speed and ISO, so you can start to take even more control in Aperture Priority Mode! Go here to grab it now!

As always thanks so much for being here! If you enjoyed this post, then a great way to let me know is to share it, either by pinning it to your Pinterest boards, or sharing on Facebook, or just letting a friend know about the goodness that is Live Snap Love :-)

Bye by from me and the Zombies….

Learn all about aperture with this easy to follow aperture and depth of field exercise! | Beginner Photography Tips | Aperture Exercise | Aperture Cheat Sheet | Aperture Priority Mode