Aperture (35mm f/1.8)

Aperture. Also known as F-Stop or F-number. No?

That thing that says, for example, f/3.5 on your camera. Still lost?

The thing that gives that beautiful blur/shallow focus behind your object/subject when taking pictures.

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Beautiful blur (Shot at f/1.8)

For years I was, and still am, obsessed with a low aperture. (That means lots of blur behind the object or subject). Unfortunately, my standard kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) can only provide so much ‘blur’. That was until I bought my 35mm f/1.8. (And yes. f/1.8 means lots of blur.)

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, f/1.8 means lots of blur and f/15 means less blur. Small number means blur, big number means less blur.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Shot at f/1.8
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Shot at f/4.5

Now, just to clarify. If you buy a lens like this, it doesn’t mean your photos will automatically become ‘better’, although it might seem like it. Shooting with a 35mm prime lens at a low aperture has a learning curve. It’s vital for you to nail your focus otherwise most of it will be a blur.

For example, take this picture I shot last year in Namibia.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Shot at f/1.8

It might look like that everything is in focus, but if you zoom in you can see the focus wasn’t on the flower, instead, it was just behind it, a centimetre away. Because of that, most of the flower is blurred.

Annotation 2020-05-27 145045
Blurred flower

A good tip will be to always check and make sure your photo is in focus when shooting. Don’t just assume it will be. Always zoom in on the picture, after you’ve taken it, to double check.

It does take some time getting to grips with shooting at a low aperture, but once you get the hang of it, the fun will begin.

Confused by some photography terminology? Here’s a list of photography jargon.

If you found this helpful, here are 5 photography tips for beginners.

Learn about developing your eye for detail.

Thinking about which camera you should buy to begin photography?


Foundation of Photography

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25 thoughts on “Aperture (35mm f/1.8)

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    1. (not that I know a great deal about SLR technique; I used to do a lot of B&W lab work, but that was in the ‘eighties πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t use a professional camera, I just use the one in my Samsung Galaxy A5, so no f button there I’m afraid. But thank you for teaching me about aperture and focus.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was playing around with my camera the other day and trying to remember what the f-stop was and what it did. It has been over a decade since I learned about it in a class and I don’t think I ever really had that good of a handle on it. This post is perfect! You explain it so well. I think I can actually use it as intended now. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so incredibly happy to hear that! I tried to explain it in the most simple way I could. That’s something I will try to achieve. Photography shouldn’t be seen as complicated or difficult in order to take ‘good’ pictures.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m just getting into photography as a craft. When I worked as a journalist, I would just take photos and send them to the editor thinking my words were the important part. I recently took a photography and storytelling class that helped me see how photos elevate words. I also took your advice from another post and bought a 35mm lens. I can’t wait to start playing with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s true when they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I have a look at this short video and see what National Geographic photographers have to say on that specific matter.
      I’m glad you found value in my post. Have fun with your 35mm! It absolutely changed the way I take photos. In the best way possible.

      Liked by 2 people

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