When to use your camera’s wide aperture settings.

Learn when to use a wide aperture setting and manipulate light to your artistic advantage.

Your camera lens has a diaphragm in it that lets in light — this is your aperture and it’s measured in f-stops. The lower your f-stop number, the wider your aperture is and the more light you let in.

Because aperture also controls the depth of field, it can be easy to take dramatic photographs with just a few clicks of the f-stop. Whether you’re new to photography or are a seasoned professional, discover the times when wide aperture settings come in handy.

Night photoshoots.

From your kid’s Wednesday night soccer practice to documenting street art, plenty of photography takes place at night. You’ll need to crank down your f-stop number to widen your aperture and let as much light in as possible to capture the action on the field (or art in the streets)

Portrait photography.

With a widened aperture, your photos will have a focused foreground and a background that’s a bit blurry — which helps your subject to stand out. Subject isolation is a visually interesting and (usually) necessary element of portrait photography. Whether you shoot weddings, senior portraits, or editorial shots, a wide aperture changes the depth of field to make the subject pop.

The bokeh effect.

To dial up the dramatic effect, photographers widen the aperture even further to achieve the bokeh effect. Look for light in the background that’s broken up into orbs or circles — when you have these, you’ve likely snapped a photograph with bokeh.

Additionally, you can explore even more photo tips or add in the bokeh effect after a shoot with a versatile photo editing software. Explore everything you can do with the professional yet easy-to-use tools in Adobe Lightroom.