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Setting the right aperture #photography

I’ve been taking photographs every day throughout my lockdown. I’ve photographed flowers in the garden, my meals and kept a photographic record of my experience. All the photographs were shot with a wide aperture. I’ve has good light too because it has been sunny most of the time. On Sunday, I went out and did a little landscape photography. So how did I go about setting the right aperture for landscapes?  I set the aperture narrow to get the whole shot in focus but how narrowly do you set the aperture? I actually used f8 and f9 for the shots but you can shoot landscapes with a wide aperture.  I created this collage with some of my shots.

setting the right aperture

Aperture Priority

It was quite sunny and so I had very good light and for most shots, I was setting my focus point 150 yards in front of me. So f8 was quite adequate and gave me a fast shutter speed. I have problems holding the camera still, so a fast shutter speed suits me. In reality, you can go anywhere from f6.3 up to f16 and get the whole frame in focus. f16 might have given me a slightly sharper image but with a slower shutter speed. It’s worth experimenting to see what aperture your lens works best at. I think the 18-105mm lens on the D3200 works best at f8. I shot these images on aperture priority leaving the camera to work out the shutter speed which was faster than 1/100 of a second on all the shots.


Raising the ISO on an entry-level camera like the D3200 can introduce noise but I have found you can raise it up to 800 outside without getting any noise. Under artificial light, I have got noisy images, especially under fluorescent light at the higher ISO settings. I often use ISO 200 outside because I get faster shutter speeds.

Setting the right aperture

Setting the right aperture is about having some experience and knowing your equipment. I’ve photographed a plate of food at f1.8 and the opposite side of the plate has been out of focus. While I wanted a shallow depth of field, f1.8 can make it too shallow. For landscape photography, you need some experience with the lens at the different focal lens and different apertures to get the best results. You need a depth of field that brings the whole frame into focus. Getting the frame in focus is fairly easy. Getting the frame in sharp focus is about knowing what your lens can do.


After 11 weeks in lockdown, I was just glad to get out there and enjoy my photography. I do shoot a lot on manual with my D750 but aperture priority is easier and quicker. The same settings can be used for virtually every shot and you can relax and enjoy the afternoon out.  Some photographers claim that using manual divides amateurs from the professionals. It doesn’t! If your photography is good enough for exhibitions or to be featured in the newspaper then you’re professional enough!

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