Learning your camera settings can feel overwhelming! But trust us, they are easy to learn and it will make a WORLD of difference in your photos – even if you’re “just a hobby photographer.”
Aperture is the opening of your lens where the light passes through. The lower your aperture, the bigger the opening. So if you have a low aperture, more light will pass through your lens. It is calibrated in f stops like 1.2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, etc.
Aperture also affects the depth of field. Depth of field affects the blur in the background. The higher your aperture the more in focus the background will be! The lower your aperture the more blurred the background will be. Please note blur is also affected by other variables, like the distance the subject is from the background.
In general, for individual portraits we like shooting with 1.8 – 2.5 aperture. For couples we like shooting with 2.2 – 3.5 aperture, and for families we like shooting from 3.2 aperture to 5. This is variable depending on the light, movement, and amount of people, but it’s a good starting place.
The photo below has a low aperture of 1.8. Notice the blur in the background and the bokeh.
Here are a couple more examples of photos with a lower aperture!
The photo below has a higher aperture because there are more people. When you have more people, it’s important to have a higher aperture if you want all of them to be in focus. Notice the background in this photo – less bokeh and you can see defined tree branches. However, everyone is in focus!
Here are some more examples of photos with a higher aperture!
Want more help? Steal our guide for going from auto to manual for free! Also, be sure to check out our Shooting & Editing Course for thoroughly detailed explanations of how your camera works, what settings to use, how to find good light, how to edit, and SO MUCH MORE! Our Shooting & Editing Course details our entire shooting and editing process. Go check it out now!