How to choose the aperture?

In order to take the perfect picture, it’s very important to customize and take into account all the minor details. Things like aperture really matter, and you want to know exactly what they represent and how you can make the most out of them. With the right aperture, you will have no problem pushing the boundaries and taking some incredible photos. While it will take a bit of a trial and error to make this work, the potential can be staggering. It all comes down to adapting your approach and understanding what you can do in order to take great pictures all the time.


What is aperture?

We can define aperture as the opening in a lens that allows light to pass and enter the camera. It’s pretty much the pupil of your lens. You can modify enlarge or shrink the aperture size in order to allow more/less light into the camera sensor. Thanks to the right aperture, you will be able to add some dimension to your photos. This means you are able to control the depth of field very well.

At one of the extremes, aperture can bring you a blurry background and a focus effect, whereas at the other extreme it will provide you with really sharp photos. Aperture will have various effects on your photos. Large aperture levels will allow a lot of light to pass, so the image is brighter. If the aperture level is small, you will have less light go through, and the image is darker. Of course, if you want to take images inside, then you will need a large aperture, since you want as much light as you can get.

Aperture is showcased via f numbers, and they are easy to understand. If you see a high f number, like f/22, that’s actually a small aperture. High apertures are those numbers close to 1. So an f/4 aperture is actually very large, which is something you have to keep in mind here.


Choosing the right aperture

If you are in a very dark environment, you want to use an aperture like f/2.8 or f/4, maybe even f/5.6 at most. In a bright environment you can go with f/8 and up to f/22 depending on the situation. In this latter situation, you don’t need as much light, so that’s defi8nitely something to take into consideration.

One thing to consider here is that a large aperture value like f/2.8 will bring in quite a lot of background blur. Higher values like f/8 will actually bring you a sharper amount of detail for both the background and foreground. The great thing is that aperture levels are not static, you can adjust the shutter speed for compensation, or you can even increase the ISO levels in case the shutter limit is at max right now. So there are methods you can use to achieve the right results, which is exactly what you need to focus on.


Is it possible to set the aperture in your camera?

Yes, you can do that manually if you want, especially if you are serious about taking high quality pictures. There are 2 modes that work well here, the manual mode or the aperture priority mode. You can find these at the top dial of your camera. If you use the manual mode, you can change the shutter speed and aperture on your own. For the aperture-priority mode, you choose the aperture and the camera will detect the desired shutter speed on its own. Obviously, the manual mode delivers the most control, and that’s the thing you want to keep in mind here.


What is the minimum aperture for lenses? What about the maximum one?

As you can imagine, each lens has a limit when it comes to the min/max aperture that you can get. Most of the time, the maximum aperture is what matters, because that’s what will let you know the amount of light you can get through the lens properly.

A lens that has a max aperture of f/1.4 or f/1.8 is known to be a fast lens. The max aperture of f/4.0 is seen as a slow lens. At the other side of the spectrum, you have the maximum aperture. This is not as important, because most modern lenses can do at least f/16 as a minimum, so you don’t have to worry about it as much. The max aperture is what matters, and you want the slowest possible value that you can get here.


Aperture uses

  • f/0.95 to f/1.4 are known as extremely fast aperture and they are found on premium, expensive lenses. That makes them great for indoor photography. You have a shallow depth of field at close distances. These are good for portraits, wedding receptions or taking a photo of the night sky.
  • f/1.8 to f/2.0 can provide slightly inferior performance for low light situations. They can still be really good and fast.
  • f/2.8 to f/4 is what most professionals tend to use, and the same can be said about enthusiasts. They are not as fast as the ones above, but you do have image stabilization even if you have low light situations. You can use this for wildlife, sports, travel and so on.
  • f/5.6 to f/8 are suitable for architecture and landscape photos. They can also be just as good for larger groups of people.
  • f/11 to f/16 work great for macro photography and landscape photos, maybe even architecture as well.



Picking the right aperture levels can indeed affect the way your image looks in the end. Which is why we always recommend everyone to take their time, understand what every aperture level does and how you can use it adequately. Once you know the basics, it’s a lot easier to pick the right aperture based on your needs and requirements. It can take a bit of experimentation to find the right aperture levels for you, but the payoff can be great. Just make sure that you avoid any rush, and results can be great!

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