DO NOT Fret About F/Stops & DOF: Watch This Video

Some photographers spend a lot of time fretting about aperture settings, and how they affect depth of field (DOF) in their photos. In today’s quick tutorial you’ll learn why it’s not necessary to worry about aperture as much as you think.

The video below from our friends at the Photographic Eye explains all the important concepts in less than 12 minutes. And by the time you’re finished watching you’ll understand everything you need to know about these very important elements of compelling photos.

British photographer Alex Kilbee has been working as a pro for over 30 years, and he has a knack for explaining potentially confusing concepts in a calm, reassuring way. He begins today’s episode with this: “This video is going to stop you overthinking aperture and allow you to lean into it’s creative aspects, without your head getting mired in mathematical mumbo jumbo.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly the approach most of our readers really appreciate. In other words, simple illustrated lessons that enable them to capture the world around them with confidence. As most everyone knows, aperture is one of the three technical fundamentals of photography, along with shutter speed and ISO.

When it comes to aperture, the setting you choose has a big impact on one key image characteristic beyond achieving a proper exposure—specifically depth of field. Kilbee begins with a discussion of depth of field, which in basic terms is the range of focus in an image that appears acceptably sharp. Depending upon the scene at hand and the look you’re after, you may want more or less of this critical element.

Kilbee also has a simple definition for aperture, explaining, “it refers to the opening in a lens that controls how much light enters the camera.” Aperture is measured in f/stops, with lower f/stop numbers indicating a larger aperture opening (and therefore more light entering the camera).

As you’ll see, the f/stop you use has a big impact on how much of a scene is sharp—both behind and in front of your primary subject. And Kilbee demonstrates several tips and tricks for achieving more interesting photos without getting bogged down in confusing technical details.

If you find this lesson helpful, as we trust you will, head over to Kilbee’s instructional YouTube channel for more of the same.

We recently shed light on another important photographic concept, with a tutorial explaining how to use lens “bokeh” for eye-catching photos. You may want to check that one out too.