Aperture Settings and Techniques Part II

Now that you know what aperture is and how it works, let’s experiment with some aperture settings and basic photography techniques for popular niches. Whether you want to achieve a more intense, powerful portrait or a more in-focus flower photograph, we have prepared useful and simple guidelines for you to follow.

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Expressive Portraits

In order to get expressive portraits, photographers usually focus on the subject creating a shallow depth of field. If you want to concentrate the attention on your model, and achieve a more diffused background, here’s what you need to do:

  • Set a wide aperture (a lower f number like f/1.4 or f/2.8).
  • Get close to your subject.
  • Focus on the subject’s eyes.

Out-of-focus backgrounds are ideal for portrait photography as they can add different moods and effects to the photo, changing the atmosphere. Now that you know how to do it, get your hands on the camera and have some fun experimenting.

 portrait achieved by using a wide aperture

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Pet Photography

Photographing your pet is meant to be fun. Pet photography benefits from both shutter speed techniques if you want to capture your subject in motion, and from aperture techniques if you want to freeze a special expression.

You already know how to take a nice shot of your pet on a blurry background: set a lower f number (f/2) and don’t forget to focus on the eyes.

If you don’t have a pet and want to practice, find a place where you can find plenty of subjects like a park, a garden or a Zoo. Be careful what you get close to though!

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Flower Shots

Flower photography also benefits from out-of-focus backgrounds. Here are some useful tips:

  • Choose a flower you want to focus on.
  • Set your camera on a wider aperture (f/4 should be fine).
  • Ensure the background can add a nice effect to the image. Go for either a nice bright sky, or for a beautiful green garden.

Here is an example of what you can get.

aperture photography technique for flower images

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Beautiful Landscape Pictures

Small apertures (small f numbers) are preferred by photographers when it comes to landscape pictures. The reason why they choose smaller apertures like f/11 (higher f number) is the greater depth of field achieved. So both the foreground and background elements are in focus.

For a well-balanced composition and saturation, it is recommended to set your camera on a medium aperture. However, you are free to play with settings, and adjust all details along the process.

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Travel Photography

Who doesn’t love traveling? Whether travel photography is one of your hobbies or even your job, there are so many details and moments you want to capture. The aperture photography techniques you can make use of when focusing on details imply an out-of-focus background and shallow depth of field. So you will need to choose a wider aperture (up to f/4).

If you choose to capture a broader scene, but also blurry distracting elements in the background, a wide aperture will do the job. The only thing to take into account is the distance to your subject.

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Street Photography

Street photography, often overlapping with travel photography, can also benefit from wide apertures. Out-of-focus backgrounds can add a dramatic even artistic effect to your street photographs.

  • Choose a wider aperture to ensure a less depth of field.
  • Place your subject in the main focal point.

Aperture Settings and Photo Techniques for Abstract Photos

The most fun part, and also one of the most challenging, of experimenting with aperture photography techniques is that abstract touch you can add to your images.

  • Set your camera on a wider aperture (choose a low f number, but not the lowest like f/4).
  • Focus on a central element. This will result in a slightly out-of-focus, blurry background.

Here is what you can get:

Stair lights abstract photo

Medium apertures are ideal for shooting light trails. One of the major aspects to consider in this case is adjusting the shutter speed and ISO properly. Set a low ISO (ISO 200 should do the work), choose a shutter speed between 10 and 20 seconds along with a medium aperture of f/8.

Take a few shots and see how it goes. Experiment as much as you can and let us know how it went. We love it when our readers engage with our content and get inspired. So don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any thoughts and ideas you’d like to share with us and our community.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

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About

Half Dutch and half Canadian, Karsten is an enthusiastic workaholic photographer turned blogger. Architecture graduate, he is determined to make the most of his passion for photography and takes great pride from being a self-taught individual.