05. Aperture & Depth of field

In this chapter Karl walks you through some more core controls of your DSLR camera as he explains all there is to know about apertures and depth of field.

Using a series of diagram illustrations and practical demonstrations, Karl explains what depth of field is and how, along with aperture and focus points, you can use it for creative effect.

Knowing this fundamental knowledge and the relationship between the different elements of your camera will allow you to be more creative with your photography.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Photographing in manual mode
  • Aperture and Depth of field
  • How to control depth of field: Increasing/decreasing depth of field
  • Selecting your focus point on your camera
  • How to achieve the right exposure using shutter speed and aperture
  • How to make the subject stand out from the background

To learn more about some of the concepts discussed in this class, take a look at our Photography Quick Start Guide.

If you have any questions about this class, please post them in the comments section below.

NOTE: This course is available with subtitles.


  1. Thank you, Karl. I find your training very easy to grasp. I am just starting out at the age of 50 and am learning a lot already. So much to learn and not that much time, so here we go! Thanks again. Tim

  2. Hi Karl, Every time I used to visit you tube your advertisements used to pop up, as I had clicked on it once. Ever since it haunted me every time I was on youtube or stumbling on some website. Well, I believe I had to be here and its a very intelligent approach to enroll in your course. It’s been only on my 5th chapter and although I have been doing photography cause I love shooting people like families or landscapes. These courses are giving me in depth understanding of the technicalities that is involved in making a good image. I have a canon 7d mk ii, with 18-135, and sigma 70-300 apart from the kit lens. I was wondering to invest in either sigma 150-600 f/4 or canon 70-200 f/4. Your suggestion would be highly appreciated as I advance through my learnings from your course. Some of my photographs are listed here https://500px.com/pixelsandgrid let me know your thoughts. Thanks for being a mentor for me and many aspirants. Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Romy, thanks for signing up and I’m sure it will help you get the very best out of all areas of photography. In answer to your question you really need to think about what it is you want to shoot with these lenses. 600mm is a massive focal length and usually reserved for wildlife and sports and it will probably be a bigger heavier lens. The 70-200 has more usefulness in portraits at the 70-135mm range and then is OK for some further stuff at 200mm but you can always add a 2x convertor. So it really comes down to what you want to shoot and what you want to carry. Cheers Karl.

  3. Please, how can I download ?, my internet is not strong enough to watch on a stretch..
    Regards, Mic from Lagos.

    1. Hi Mic, Our videos autoplay at the appropriate resolution for most internet connection speeds. If you are having trouble with your internet speed you can also manually select a lower resolution in the video player settings. I’m afraid we don’t offer downloads, our business is a streaming and membership platform.

  4. Hi Karl, I have learnt more about photography in the last 24 hours than I have in the last 2 years. You and your team do some amazing work. Training doesn’t go far enough to describe what you do, it truly is an education. I can’t even begin to describe the value for money that you are providing with your content. Keep up the great work!

  5. I use Canon Rebel T2i. Can I use 85mm for portraits? What do you suggest between 85mm and 70-200 f2.8?

  6. Than you Karl. This demonstration is very helpful. I am looking for good portrait lens and also tripod to take my family portraits. Can you please suggest ? I would really appreciate if you can demonstrate what lens are good for portraits, baby photography and landscape photography.

    1. Hi Ramya, On a full frame 35mm camera then my choice would be 85mm with a 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8 maximum aperture for all your portrait work, if you need to shoot portraits from further away then a 70-200 f2.8 is also a very versatile lens but not often necessary if you have the 85mm. For landscapes it’s different you’d need wider angle lenses in the 16-35mm range.

  7. This is the best DoF demonstration I’ve seen.

    The relationship between f stop and aperture speed is well explained, writing lines on table as you demonstrate is simple and should be really helpful for visual learners. Also was good brush-up for tired skills.

    Looking forward to more chapters.


    For fun, this is how we did it in the old days:
    Before the internet or computers, I learned this through taking and developing photos (film and developing cost actual $$ then) using Mom’s Asahi Pentax…had a built-in(!) light meter, which made it so much quicker to get proper DoF using a desired A/T value. I did have to keep a notebook to record Tv/Av for each shot or set of shots, in case I needed the lab to ‘push’ them when developing. The lab would change times/apertures on enlargers to make adjustments as if in camera…LightRoom, but in a dark room with chemicals and timers. To do it myself, I knew some labs had big darkrooms set up I could rent time in, using their chemicals and equipment to develop my photos. When I was a 12 year old. That’s how we rolled…

    1. I remember those days James, especially the note pads and even getting the lab to run clip tests. I spent 10 years shooting film for clients before switching to digital in 2005 with my Hasselblad H1 at the time!

  8. Kai ! You bi very good teacher Mr. Taylor ! I buy my Nikon D5200 in 2014 and since then na Auto mode I dey use. Since I start this your class about 17 days ago, I no dey use Auto again. I enjoy manual and all the new things I fit use my camera do. The $14 which i pay for this education na huge value for small money. Thank you Mr. Taylor.

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