What is aperture in photography?

(Image credit: Future)

What is aperture in photography? The term aperture refers to the opening of a lens' diaphragm – essentially a hole through which light passes to reach the camera. By changing your aperture, you can change and control how much light enters the camera sensor from your lens.

Key to understanding what is aperture in photography, you need to know that the size of the opening is calibrated in "stops" of light – also known as f-stops (more on f-stops here) and this numerical value also describes the ratio of a lens' focal length (the "f") to the diameter of the opening. 

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar, Space.com, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.