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Shoot with large aperture setting on your digital camera

| April 12, 2010 | 1 Comment
Statistics indicate that Aperture Priority Mode is one of the most frequently used creative modes among photography enthusiasts, and rightfully so. However, an interesting question arises: How often do you really use your cameras largest aperture setting ?

A touch of pink

A touch of pink by DPStudent on Flickr

It is a well known fact Aperture Priority Mode (marked as Av on some cameras or A on others) is one of the most frequently used creative modes among digital photography enthusiasts, since it provides a direct control over depth of field (DOF), which is one of the most important compositional elements to consider when making a photo. Also the aperture directly controls the amount of light reaching the camera sensor (in conjunction with shutter speed and sensitivity). Consequently, lens capable of using wider aperture settings (lower f-stop number) such as f/1.4, f/2, and f/2.8 are considered higher quality lens, and more oriented towards a professional photography market, making them much more expensive than the smaller aperture ones (such as f/4, f/5.6 etc).

However, when doing some research for one of my photography articles, I have asked some of my friends and acquaintances which aperture setting do they use the most. Interestingly enough, neither one of them mentioned f/1.4, f/2, or f/2.8. That is a shame, especially since the lens are not being used to the maximum of their potential. If you consider from creativity perspective, when it comes to using wide apertures such as f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, less becomes more. Your creative choices do not revolve around what to include in the photo, but what to decide to take away. Due to the shallow DOF, wide aperture setting forces you to make creative choices and focus on the minimalism. You will have to get used to the fact that usually only your subject will be sharp, while everything else will be blurred. In the long run, you will be surprised by how this approach boost simplicity in photos. So our tip of the week is:

Shoot with largest aperture setting for the full week.

Let us know how it went. And feel free to publish your photos in our flickr group. Happy shooting

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Category: Photo Enthusiast, Photography Tips

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

Comments (1)

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  1. I confess that I am one of those who uses the Aperture Priority Mode of my camera quite often, and always sets the aperture somewhere between f/16 and f/32, depending on the lens I'm using.
    The main reason I do this is because I shoot lots of macro and I like to have as much of the subject in focus as it is possible.
    Your article has brought up an interesting perspective and I'm definitely going to try using the widest aperture of the lens I'm using.
    I will add photos to the Flickr group pool.

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