How Is Math Used in Photography?

Math is integral to successful photography, from calculating apertures and f-stops to focusing and the angle of view. It is not necessary to entirely understand the calculations, but a photographer needs a good grasp of mathematical relationships.

Just about every portion of the photographic process is described by mathematics. The aperture, also called the f-stop, controls the amount of light that enters the camera and is based on the area of lens that is open. F-stop and shutter speed have an inverse mathematical relationship, as a smaller aperture requires longer exposure to get adequate light on the film or camera sensor, as described by math teacher Mark D. Martin. The portion of the image that is in focus depends on the focal length of the lens, a calculation that takes the lens diameter into account. Pixel counts are calculated using the size of digital sensor, and aspect ratios can be worked out.