Eclass 3

“ Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all know light. Know it for all you are worth and you will know the key to photography.” George Eastman

To make this simple, to understand light is to understand a major part of photography.

How will this lesson help you?

Following these easy steps will help you to control the light when taking photos. One way to do this is to use the settings on your camera, including aperture, with confidence and so improve your photo results.


If you look the word photography you can see it means‘ painting with light’.

You need to pay a great deal of attention to the light because the way you see the light and use it will make a great deal of difference to every one of your photos. More than that it will change the way you see the world.

Understanding and controlling light reaching the sensor of your camera is one of the main keys to successful photography.

Three ways of controlling light are;

  • Aperture
  • Shutter speed and
  • ISO

In this lesson we will learn about Aperture.

In This Lesson You Will

  • Use your camera settings including aperture to let the right amount of light to reach your camera’s sensor.
  • Experiment with your menu settings including aperture to master how it works.
  • Use creative light control, including aperture, to create atmosphere in your photos.
  • Use camera settings including  aperture to blur the background in portraits.
  • Use camera settings , including aperture, to keep all of your photo in focus.

This lesson should take about 30 minutes but remember the more time you spend the better you get.


Before you do this lesson make sure you have printed and put into your Photography Journal the photos from Eclass 1 and 2.

Equipment needed;


  1. A Smart Phone Camera OR a Compact Camera OR an SLR camera with a medium telephoto lens.
  2. A subject like a child’s toy OR a vase of flowers OR a sill life arrangement with candles, shells, tea pot etc.
  3. The instruction book for your camera. If you no longer have the instruction book that came with your camera you can Google the make and model number of your camera on the internet and you should find the instruction book.

  • In SLR cameras the Aperture is measured by F stop.
  • The size of the F stop controls the amount of light able to reach the sensor
  • In Smart Phone Cameras and some Compact Cameras the F stops are included in the settings shown as icons such as mountains or people.
  • The F stops usually range from F5.6 to F22, though with some lenses the F stops can be higher and lower. F5.6 is known as being ‘wide open’ with the opening being large. F22 is known as being ‘closed down’.
  • F22 has a small opening.
  • For these exercises use Aperture priority if you can. This is where you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.
  • The more light that is available the smaller the F stop you can use. Remember though the smaller opening is F22

Royal Mulla Mulla

Royal Mulla Mulla F5.6 or
Portrait mode
Notice out of focus background.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge  F11 or
Landscape  mode
Notice background in focus.

Part 1.

To Do

  1. Remember your learning from Eclass 1 and make sure you have turned on the grid and use it in all the following photos. Eclass 2 check your settings for Resolution and Camera Modes.
  2. Find where you can select your aperture on your camera. If you don’t know where to do this go to your camera’s instruction manual to find it.
  3. Set up your arrangement on a table or somewhere you can easily move around
  4. Make sure you have an uncluttered background.
  5. Camera Settings – Turn off the auto setting in your camera’s menu. If your camera is on auto it will compensate for different lighting conditions and possibly throw in a flash.
  6. Smart phone and Compact camera users use the portrait mode from your menu if you can’t dial in aperture priority.
  7. SLR users turn on Aperture priority where you control the size of the opening and the camera controls the shutter speed.
  8. Focus on the eyes or the most important part of your subject.
  9. Take a photo of your subject using the portrait setting ( an outline of people) for Smart Phone and compact camera users. SLR users please use the setting of F5.6.
  10. Take a photo of your subject using the landscape setting ( an outline of mountains) for Smart Phone users, Compact Camera users and F22 for SLR users.
  11. Go outside to a place where you can see into the distance, along a road, to the mountains, along a beach.
  12. Set the camera to portrait setting or F5.6 and focus on an item close to you. Then take the photo.
  13. Set the camera to Landscape mode setting (mountains) and focus on an item close to you. Then take the photo.
  14. Experiment with other F stops and the same subjects to see the different results you can get.
  15. Choose your best examples that show how aperture settings affect your photos and print them off.



  • the portrait mode setting and F5.6 have a blurred background
  • the landscape mode setting and F22 give a photo that is in focus from front to back of your photo.

Part 2.


  1. Download and Print off your photos.
  2. Paste the photos you have taken on the Aperture sheet of A4 paper and place them in your folder.
  3. Under each photo write a comment, do you like the result? What is it about the photo you like? What will you do differently next time?
  4. Reflect on your experiences and write down 2 things that you have discovered that you think are very important.

Advanced Extension

If you have time, using the grid and different apertures take photos of the same subject using different view points.

  1. Looking down
  2. Looking up
  3. At eye level

Photo Speak – special words used by photographers.

  • Aperture – the size of the opening letting light onto the sensor, either film or digital.
  • Exposure – The amount of light reaching the sensor or film.
  • Over Exposure – Over Exposure is when too much light reaches the sensor and the photo is too light with no detail in the highlights. One way of fixing this is to use an aperture with a smaller opening, F11 or above.
  • Under Exposure – Under Exposure is when not enough light reaches the sensor. One way of fixing this is to use an aperture with a wider opening, F8 or below.
  • ISO – the measurement of the light sensitivity of the sensor in your camera. This measurement is the same for film or digital capture
  • Sharp – the term used by photographers to describe if the photo is in focus .
  • Soft – the term used by photographers to describe the blur in a photo
  • Shutter speed – the speed the shutter moves to let in the light. This is measured in fractions of a second.
  • Wide open – a large opening to let a great deal of light in.

Congratulations on finishing Lesson 3 !!! Give Yourself A Treat!
Now you can choose the correct aperture or setting for your subject

This is the next step in your Photographic Journey to Success. Paste your photos on the page below and comment on your results.
To keep following this path set aside a regular time slot in your week so you can get the best results for your efforts.

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