The creative use of aperture, shutter speed, and white balance can take a beginner to a professional in a short amount of time. By understanding how each one affects an image, photographers not only capture fleeting moments, they create moments by managing light. The images below are accredited to photographers on

Wide Aperture

Notice that a small portion of the roses are in focus. Everything around the focal point is blurred out, and the horizon is almost unrecognizable. This effect occurs because the aperture is very wide.

Narrow Aperture

A narrow aperture allows objects on all planes to be on focus. Most landscape photographers use a narrow aperture to capture the detail throughout all their image.

Slow Shutter Speed

Shutter speed can be used for multiple effects. Blurring lights and waterfalls are a common use of a slow shutter speed. Letting the light in for a longer amount of time creates a smooth look in the water.

Fast Shutter Speed

When the camera is set to a fast shutter speed, the camera lets in light in a shorter amount of time. This allows the photographer to capture high-speed shots like the one shown above.

White Balance

Natural tones around us are always changing. Direct sunlight, a cloudy day, and indoors will have a different color tone across the whole image. White balance is a tool used to take those different tones out of the image so that the white parts of the photo are white. In the image shown above, the photographer chose to keep a blue tone for a special effect.


Applying these principles to an existing creative work will enhance any photographers skill. Mastering the basics are key to the road of professional work.