Using Aperture & Depth of Field for EPIC Nature & Wildlife Photos (VIDEO)

Put two outdoor photographers in the same place at the same time—one a pro and the other an amateur—and it’s likely their photos will differ dramatically, especially in terms of creativity. The reasons a pro usually wins include better composition, high-end gear, and a greater understanding of exposure techniques.

But there’s another essential skill that’s often ignored by novices, and that’s how to use depth of field for images with greater impact. In the tutorial below you’ll learn how selecting the proper f/stop for a particular scene enables you to create more dramatic photos.

With the correct aperture you can easily accentuate the main subject, blur a distracting background or superfluous objects in the foreground, and control the zone of focus to guide a viewer’s eyes exactly where you want them to go. All this is clearly explained in the 13-minute tutorial.

Simon d’Entremont (we’ll call him Simon) is an experienced pro based in Eastern Canada. While he specializes in wildlife and nature imagery, the tips he provides are important to understand for all types of outdoor photography.

By following Simon’s advice you can selectively control the range of sharpness and achieve precise focus where it matters most, and even have everything in the a photo in focus all at once. Be sure to watch until the very end, where he also demonstrates how to use aperture to add sun stars to an image.

Simon begins with a brief summary of the Exposure Triangle that incorporates ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. He says the latter “is the most creative of the three because it allows you to drastically change the look of your photos.” He also explains how lens design factors into the equation.

You’ll see that there are several attributes affected by the f/stop you select, including the amount of light entering the lens and hitting the camera’s sensor, and the portion of the scene that appears in “acceptable” focus.

The choices you make may depend upon whether you’re shooting sports, wildlife images, landscapes, or low-light scenes like starlit skies. Simon provides interesting graphics to explain the concepts, along with several beautiful photos for inspiration.

There’s much more to see on d’Entremont’s YouTube channel. And be sure to check out a tutorial we posted on a related topic, explaining how to choose the optimum shutter speed for the best photos possible.