Aperture (AV mode)
The aperture on a lens is a small hole that controls the depth of field in a photograph. Depth
of field affects focus on close and distant objects, adding blur for shallow depths of field which
blurs out the background so that objects in the foreground stand out more. Deep depths of
field have both the foreground and background in focus, popular in landscape and
Apertures can be controlled via AV mode on a camera, which is measured in F numbers. The
smaller the F numbers means there will be a shallow depth of field, whereas a bigger F
number will mean a deeper depth of field.
In the picture above it can be seen that the leftmost picture (F number 1.18) has a very
shallow depth of field and that the two middle cupcakes are in focus, while the rest are being
blurred in the background. On the other hand, the rightmost picture using F number 10 has all
five cupcakes in focus, and little to no blurring in the photo.
Here the milkshake bottle is in full focus
whereas the background has become
very blurred, making it hard to distinguish
details. The focus on the bottle has
created a very shallow depth of field.
This photo focuses on just the bottle.
This is the middle point where both bottle
and background are slightly in focus with
a moderate depth of field. There is still
some blur and it is hard to see some
details in the background. This photo has
everything in view.
This photo has the deepest depth of field
and as such there is little to no blurring in
the background, with both the bottle and
surroundings able to be viewed in detail.
As the shot has been moved back a
little, the background is much more
prominent here, to the point where the
‘rule of thirds’ applies (the bottle is in the
middle of the thirds)
Shutter Speed (TV mode)
Shutter Speed defines the length of time the lens shutter is open, allowing photograph that
depict motion to be captured with motion blur – distortion that simulates movement. The
speed can be individually controlled, to take less that 1/4000 th of a second, and going all the
way up to 3 hour captures for long exposure photography, which can be used to photograph
the movement of stars in the night sky.
Above are two examples of long exposure photography. For the prolonged time that the
shutter is open and photographing, the camera is able to capture every angle of the
lighthouse beacon and the full rotation of the stars.
Above are two examples of short exposure which is able to capture fast and precise
movement/moments. The camera is able to snap a picture of the fraction of a second that an
object hits the water and splashes.
The slow shutter speed has blurred the
motion in this photo, as each millimetre
of movement has been captured into one
single picture. This image is also the
brightest because the light has had a lot
of time to enter the lens.
The fast speed means that more precise
movement has been captured, so there
is an absence of blur. However this
image is very slightly darker than the top
image, as less light has entered the lens.
This image is very dark because the
extremely fast shutter speed (a 400th of a
second) means that barely any light has
entered the lens. However the
movement has been captured precisely.
The ISO on a camera is a setting to determine how sensitive it is to light. It is especially
useful in dark shooting conditions as a high ISO setting can bring out light, allowing images to
come out well lit and in better quality.
Photographers should be warned however that higher ISO settings can increase the amount
of noise in a photograph. Noise is random variations of light and brightness caused by a
hyper-sensitive sensor and can generally degrade image quality. It is important that ISO and
brightness are ‘balanced out’ to achieve the best results.
In the above picture you can see that the leftmost section, with a setting of 100 ISO has a
very crisp image and lacks noise. However, on the right hand side, a high ISO of 3200 has
generated large amounts of noise which have ruined the image quality and made it appear
pockmarked and ugly.
Here a very low setting of ISO was used
which resulted in a very dark image.
However, no noise is present because of
This image has a mid-range ISO setting
and is slightly brighter than the above
picture, but it has started to become a
little blurry and noisy. This is on the
threshold of setting balance.
A very high ISO setting was used in this
final picture, resulting in a very bright but
out of focus and noisy image. This is
evidence that ISO can be used to
improve image quality but must be used
in moderation in order to preserve image
White balance is a technique that helps the camera to determine the colour white, as it lacks
the natural perception of light that humans have. It is a useful setting that allows images to
have a desired ‘temperature’ which can be cold and blue to warm and orange. This is helpful
for image colour correction as photographers can set a mood to their images.
Tungsten lighting is the far left setting and gives the image a very cold, dark blue tint. Blue is
often considered the cold colour as opposed to orange as the warm colour, so using it in a
photograph can create an unwelcome, mellow and sombre mood using this setting.
The images above represent the opposite ends of the mood spectrum, achieved by using
certain colours. Blue is dark and oppressive, and orange represents happiness and freedom.
Saturation and darkening has likely been used in both these images to exaggerate these
colours, as the right image looks to be quite unrealistic in the brightness of the colours.
Tungsten light / 1600 ISO
Shady light / 1600 ISO
White Fluorescent light / 1600 ISO
Daylight / 1600 ISO
What can be seen from these images is that a lower white balance causes the image to
shift to a colder blue temperature, whereas the higher setting brings the colours out more
and makes the image appear warmer. The top left image has a dark, unwelcoming tone
yet the bottom right image appears bright and welcoming, almost friendly in a way. These
images were taken in the same environment at the same time of day so the colour
changes are entirely the result of the camera.
All of these photos were taken with the settings 1600 ISO and 1/50 shutter speed.