The power of a large aperture.
Get beautiful photography effects with a large lens aperture.
An aperture is the adjustable lens opening that controls how much light gets into your camera. The larger your lens aperture, the more light it will let in. It’s expressed in what’s called an f-stop number, which is determined by the ratio of your aperture diameter to your lens focal length. Your lens’ highest aperture, usually f/1.4, lets in the most light, while your minimum aperture, around f/16, lets in the least light.
When it comes to your lighting, composition, and desired effect, aperture can make all the difference.
When to use a large aperture.
- To emphasize your foreground: A large aperture brings objects in the foreground into focus, blurring the background to create a shallow depth-of-field. This effect makes for some striking photos that almost look abstract. Use a wide aperture when you want to draw attention to a few central objects — such as for portraits or food photography.
- To make up for low light: Since a wide aperture lets in more light, this setting is good for taking low-light photos. If you use a large aperture on a sunny day, you’ll let in too much light and your photo will look washed out. But a dimly lit, hyper-focused composition will really benefit from a large aperture.
- To capture speed: With more light passing through your camera, you can also use a higher shutter speed — the speed at which your camera shutter opens and closes. A large aperture and high shutter speed are key settings for sports photography, or any other photography that requires you to capture objects in motion. The high shutter speed limits the blurring effects of movement, allowing you to get dynamic, sharply focused shots.
Get more expert tips.
Heighten the effects of a wide aperture in your editing phase. Try Adobe Lightroom and its features like the Field Blur filter to test how blurred backgrounds intensify your subject matter. And get more pro tips for composing, shooting, and editing stunning photos.