Apertures: when to go small and when to go wide

Photography Cheat Sheet: apertures explained

One of the most common questions we hear from readers and new photographers is when to use wide apertures and when to use small apertures (see also some of the other 99 most common photography problems we get asked).

The source of the confusion around apertures often tends to be around the f-numbers. The smaller the f-stop (eg f/2.8) the wider your aperture will be, and thus let in more light.

The bigger the f-stop (eg f/22) the smaller your aperture will be. Once you get your head around that numbering system it becomes much clearer and you will soon be using apertures confidently to achieve different effects.

Below, the latest infographic in our photography cheat sheet series takes a closer look at why you would use small apertures and why you would use wide apertures.

We show an example of each, and also illustrate how your apertures look at each f-stop to give you a better idea of how much light you are letting into your camera.

Feel free to drag and drop this cheat sheet on to your desktop and save it for reference.

SEE MORE: Beginner photography tips – the most common mistakes and how to avoid them

Apertures: when to go small and when to go wide (free photography cheat sheet)

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