The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners

Lesson 7/17 - Aperture


The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners


Lesson Info


All right. We've been talking about lenses, but we're gonna continue talking about them because now we're gonna be talking about the aperture in the lens. And so, that's where we're going to be determining how much light is coming in through the lens. So, aperture is the opening through which light travels. And this is a term that gets misused quite a bit in the world of photography. And, so when you hear someone talk about aperture, that's not always exactly what they're talking about. On the front of your lens, on the top of your lens is something that is labeled, like 1:1.4, and this is maximum aperture. This is the most amount of light that that lens will let in. And some people will mistakenly say that's the aperture. "Oh, that's a nice lens. What aperture is it?" No. What's the maximum aperture? Because it has several apertures it can open or close to. This is also what we, kind of, generally refer to as the lens speed. And the 1 and the colon basically indicates that it's actual...

ly a fraction, but they only have one line to work with, and so that's how we know the key number is 1.4. Now, in the lens itself, is a mechanical device that opens and closes, and that's the aperture unit yourself. Virtually all cameras are going to have an aperture in that lens like that. And that's also what refer to as our f-stop, as well. So, the f-stop. The ratio of the focal length of the lens to the entrance pupil. Okay. It's a really fancy way of saying the size of the opening in the lens. And so, this is the graphic you should memorize, for all you photographic memory people, as far as, what is 1.4, it's a very large opening. What is f/22? It's a very small opening. And this is where most people who are new to photography make a lot of mistakes, because the small number, 1.4 is a big opening and the big number, 22, is a small opening. Because they're fractions, things are reversed. And so, this is something you'll get used to, just keep practicing and keep this visual in your mind, as far as, what's 1.4 versus what's f/22? So, in our lenses, as we stop our aperture down, the aperture blades close in to create a smaller size opening. With each smaller size opening, it lets in half as much light. When we open it up, it's letting in twice as much light with each one of these settings. And, there's gonna be a smallest number, there's going to be a biggest number. And so, we can use this as an additional way after shutter speeds and after ISOs, to control the amount of light. Now, if we have aperture 5.6 selected and we open up to f/4, we are opening up a full stop of light and we're letting in twice as much light. If we go down to f/8, we're stopping down, we're letting in half as much light, and this is different than shutter speeds or ISOs. Because back in shutter speeds and ISOs, we doubled the numbers, remember that? We cut the numbers in half, we cut the light in half. But in here, when we go to 5.6, we're not doubling the number, we're going up by this small little fractional amount there, but these are, kind of, core numbers that indicate these whole f-stops, and so it's a little different numbering range, and it's fairly easy to remember these numberings, if you remember that you start at 1 and then you go to 1.4. If you can remember those two, every other number is larger than the previous. And so, if you want to go 5.6, you want to go up, well you could f/4 times two is f/8, and then 5.6 to f/11. So, it's just a series of numbers, and I'm afraid to say, you're gonna have to memorize these. It's not that hard if you can remember 1 and 1.4.

Class Description

“This is a great starter class. I thought I understood how shutter speed and aperture worked together, but this class made it come together in a matter of minutes. I'm already taking better pictures and this is just the beginning!” -Jennifer Manley, CreativeLive Student

Learn how to take the kind of photograph you’ll want to print and pass on to the next generation. John Greengo is back to teach this updated photography for beginners class. You’ll learn the principles of good beginner and intermediate photography and get the skills necessary to create amazing photos. 

Advanced cameras are available at modest price points, but learning how to use them takes an investment.

  • Learn the the most essential functions of your camera 
  • Gain confidence in putting new functions into action 
  • Get the swing of basic photographic terminology 
  • Feel prepared to move on to more advanced classes 
  • Gain a solid understanding of must-know lighting and composition techniques 
  • Lean to position yourself and your subject to capture the best photo possible with the camera you have – no additional gear needed 
If you want to take more memorable and inspiring photographs of your travels, your friends and family, or the great outdoors then this photography for beginners class is for you. Learn how to make average pictures amazing photographs and gain the ground necessary to continue your photography education.  

“This is a super introduction to photography for anyone who really wants to learn how to understand and begin to use the camera to its full extent. John is an excellent teacher, very easy to follow, with great graphics and examples.”  -Sarah, CreativeLive Student  


Kanoelani Patenaude

I am a pro photographer in my dreams, where I know the in's and out's of my camera; however, reality proved differently, as real life would tell you, I was a deer caught in headlights just looking at my new 7D Mark II. I am a photographer enthusiast without the skills, but a lot of love for the moments one, or the profession/hobby of it can capture. I mostly shoot my husband, friends, and community surfers in the lineup, and of course, my children, who rarely sit still. Thus, I switched from Nikon to Canon, venturing on the 7D Mark II for the grand reviews of how stellar of camera it is for action shots (surfing, and kids, this was a no brainer). That said, and overwhelmed with the way beyond my skill set, but noted desire and aspiration to grow, I made the purchase, and sought help rather quickly as I wanted to feel confident with what I was utilizing to capture the best memories possible. I came into this John's courses knowing the "on/off" button, and "auto" shoot mode. I came out of the course feeling like the pro in my dreams, and ready to shoot manual. John's teaching style is on point, and his detailed visuals are a huge plus. My first shots post this photography kit course, I thought were great for my first educated shoot, and shockingly, I even received and email from one of the sponsors of the surfers I captured, asking if they could use my image for their sites and publications. Not bad for a newbie. Though, my intent was never a business purpose, I did not know if I should charge a small fee, or give it for free. I don't mind free as it's not my business, yet I don't want to ruin it for any professional photographers in town doing the same thing that are charging. Perhaps another course to help me with that. I highly recommend courses by John Greengo! Thank you so much, John!

Megan Wagner

John is extremely articulate and is a great teacher with lots of visual aids and metaphors to help understand photography. I have been doing photography for a few years now and this class was a tremendous help in boosting my knowledge and refreshing my memory in multiple aspects of photography. The graphics that John uses are helpful and he even goes through images and asks which settings would be best to use and will go through the why. He makes things easy to understand and is very clear about the information he provides. I am so glad I took this course and I would highly recommend it even to an experienced photographer. Thank you John Greengo!