I have recently been exploring and experimenting with how to effectively use aperture in my photography. Aperture is one of the three main aspects of photography, along with ISO and Shutter Speed. Aperture adds an effective dimension to the photograph, either by creating a blurry background, or by bringing everything into focus.
Essentially, aperture is the hole in a lens, through which the light travels into the body of the camera. The larger the hole in the lens - the larger the aperture, and the smaller the hole - the smaller the aperture. Obviously, the larger the hole is, the more light will be let in. The aperture is expressed in f-numbers (e.g. f/5.6) and the f-numbers are known as f-stops which describe how open or closed the aperture is. The larger the f-stop means a smaller aperture and vice versa.
The size of the aperture directly impacts upon the depth of field in the image - the area that appears sharp. A large f-number (meaning a smaller aperture) brings all of the objects in the image into focus, whereas a smaller f-number (larger aperture) will make the foreground objects sharp and the background objects blurry.
Understanding and using aperture is extremely important, especially when doing portrait photography, as it enables you to really bring the subject of the image into focus and creates a nice 'bokeh' (out-of-focus area) effect in the background.
I have been experimenting with using a large aperture (f/5.6), in order to see what sort of blurred background effects I could achieve. The photographs below were taken in the centre of Birmingham, in and around the Cathedral. I am really pleased with how the images turned out, and I am looking forward to applying these effects to my future portraiture shoots.