Using Wide Apertures in Wedding Photography

Using wide apertures to create beautiful wedding photography is so simple, even a beginner can do it. A lens with a wide aperture, such as a 50mm f/1.4 prime, can produce a gentle blur in the background allowing focus to remain on what is important in the shot.

wedding photo with wide aperture

“Thumbs Up!” captured by Alyona Arnautova

Using a flash can spoil a moment; luckily there is an alternative. Opening the aperture of your lens lets more of the light that is already present in the room into the camera, resulting in brighter, happier photos.

Natural light can be a challenge for photographers, but shooting in natural light is sometimes unavoidable. More light can be let into the camera when the aperture is widened, with the side effect that depth of field will shorten. This can cause the background to become blurry, which can be highly desirable if the goal is to maintain focus on a subject’s face.

The f-stop controls the width of the aperture, the opening that allows light into the camera. The lower the f-stop, the wider the aperture will be. Using a low f-stop will result in a brighter photo.

My favourite wide aperture primes are the Canon 35 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.2, and Canon 45 TS-E f/2.8.

Controlling depth of focus is an important key to successful photography. With a deep focus, more of the image will be sharp. Consequently, more of the image will potentially distract the viewer from the subject. A shallow focus, which can be achieved with a wide aperture, can be used to eliminate unnecessary details from the background.

The aperture is a tool that can help you to create mood or atmosphere in wedding photos. Photos with bright colors and even brighter whites remind us of the joy of an occasion. This effect can be achieved by widening the aperture.

Dull pictures can be avoided, easily. One solution is simply to open the aperture, allowing more light into the camera. This shortens the depth of field, letting the background become blurry and maintaining focus on the subject without the need for a flash.

The aperture allows an artistic photographer to adjust the brightness of his or her photos while keeping them crisp. Use the aperture adjustment instead of the exposure to brighten photos while eliminating motion blur.

Taking the time to study your camera’s settings can make a noticeable difference in the quality of the photos you take. For instance, opening the aperture improves colors by making them brighter, makes shadows disappear and thus brings out details in your subject.

adjusting aperture for low light weddings

Photo captured by Tatiana Garanina

It’s the most important day in their lives, so the photos you take should share this significance. Do not create lifeless memories with lifeless photos. Learn to use your aperture adjustment!

Shooting with a wide aperture is an excellent way to create bright photos in low light. The joy of any wedding can be captured by making an adjustment to a camera’s aperture setting.

One trick known to professionals is to use wide apertures to create beautiful wedding photography. This is the secret to creating bright colors and eliminating depressing shadows that can dull a photo taken in natural light.

About the Author
My name is Gavin, I’m 33 and I have been shooting wedding photography in Kent since 2005. You can see examples of my work at Kent wedding photography. Cheers!

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11 responses to “Using Wide Apertures in Wedding Photography”

  1. Mike Barker says:

    I’ve graduated from my kit lenses and I currently shoot with a 50mm prime on my Sony Alpha. The aperture is 1.8. My question is…. Is it really worth it to buy a lens with an even wider aperture or is this lens already good enough?

    • Mark says:

      Apertures follow the basic doubling rule…every click down on the f-stop will double the blur effect of the picture…1.8 may give you great depth of field with a blur effect…but 1.4 will cut the depth in half again…1.2 another half…so to answer your question…yes…if you want more blur…you need anther f-stop.

  2. Hello

    Wedding photographs looks so beautiful using wide apertures.I am a photographer and like to captured wedding photographs.The aperture of a camera allows an artistic photographer to adjust the brightness of his or her photos.I like aperture technique to capture beautiful photos….

    Thank you :)

  3. oluwafeyisayo says:

    what’s the lowest aperture you can get on a lens?

  4. I’d rather just get a big flash and shoot all day at F8 ;-) Nice article Gavin !!

  5. Excellent advice, I always try to shoot wide open for my reportage photography. That way you can isolate the subject so much easier. Cuts out all of the background noise that you can not get rid of as the photos are spontaneous.

  6. Matt Wing says:

    Interesting read, I shoot large parts of the day wide open too. Interesting how techniques vary.

  7. My lenses are open at 2.8 although I do have the standard Canon 1.8 lens. I’d love to invest in a 1.4 or even a 1.2. I really love the look it gives and it gets you out of sticky situations sometimes – particularly if you’re not feeling the background elements.

  8. David Dean says:

    It is interesting how techniques vary, but I typically shoot with a wide open lens too.

  9. I used to shoot 2.8 for the most part but when I discovered f2.0 and beyond, my photography really had a new look and something that couples desire even though they wasn’t quite sure why. I’m now shooting most of the morning and large parts of the day around f1.8 and it gives such a nice look. Nice article and worth the read!

  10. Luke Hayden says:

    I love the look shooting wide open gives, but also important to close up the aperture when it comes to group shots.

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