What is... Aperture?

Aperture is the diameter of the lens opening through which light is admitted. When the aperture diameter is increased, then more light reaches the film (traditional cameras) or image sensor (digital cameras).

Aperture is expressed as an F-stop. Here's where it gets confusing:
-The larger the F-stop number, the smaller the lens opening.
-The smaller the F-stop number, the larger the lens opening.

This takes some getting use to, but you need to remember that as the F-stop number increases, the lens opening decreases. Another term to be familiar with is a "fast lens". This refers to a lens with a large maximum aperture (small F-stop number).

A large aperture provides:
-Shallow depth of field (blurred backgrounds).
-Fast shutter speeds.
-Reduces camera shake.

A small aperture provides:
-Large depth of field (foreground and background are all in focus).
-Slow shutter speeds.

Canon EOS Cameras: Post-Process Sharpening

Canon EOS digital cameras use an anti-aliasing filter that improves color rendition. This filter causes a softening effect that slightly reduces the sharpness of the image. To improve the sharpness of the image, you should apply an Unsharp Mask Filter in Adobe Photoshop.

Here are the recommended settings for the Unsharp Mask Filter:
Amount: 300%
Radius: 0.3 pixels
Threshold: 0 pixels

Portraits - To Flash Or Not To Flash?

When taking portraits, natural lighting is far superior to using your camera's flash. Your onboard flash can cause red-eye and overexposed faces. Instead, take your portraits outside or if you need to take them inside, take them in the brightest room with the curtains and blinds open. As always, early A.M. and early P.M. hours are the best time.