Yes, an f/4 aperture is good for wedding photography. The main reason is that a smaller aperture will give you more control over your depth of field.
It also allows you to capture more of the scene and specific moments during the ceremony or reception.
The smaller the aperture, the sharper the focus and the greater your depth of field will be. Using an aperture of f/4 and smaller will allow you to get a lot of detail in the photos.
You can also use this to your advantage when composing shots—for example, if you want to take group photos, the wedding details, establishing shots, and more.
Shooting with an f/4 zoom or prime lens outdoors on a bright day will give you outstanding results.
I usually shoot with an aperture of f/4 when shooting groups of people such as the couple, the wedding entourage, and the family members of the couple.
It is also a great aperture for capturing family portraits. Using a smaller aperture is also my preferred way of shooting documentary-style photos. As it captures more of the scene, thus giving more context to my story.
Is an f/4 lens enough for weddings?
It is not enough as your one and only lens. But it is a nice addition if you already have other past prime lenses in your wedding photography kit. F/4 lenses are slow lenses and they can be hard to use during the reception and inside the church, if you don’t have good lighting.
Shooting in the outdoors is a whole different story. You can use it to shoot portraits, details, and candids.
Is an F/4 lens good for indoors?
It can be usable but it also depends on the circumstances. If you are shooting in a well-lit room then an f/4 lens will work fine for you.
You also need to be mindful of your ISO settings and the shutter speed. Using a flash will greatly help you to get properly exposed photos.
Consider your camera body as well. If you have a newer camera like my Canon EOS RP, in which you can really push the ISO above 3200 without losing too much detail and ugly noise, then you can definitely use an f/4 lens indoors.
However, if you have an older camera that can get pretty noisy past ISO 800, I would recommend using an f/1.8 lens as it will allow more light to pass through the lens and reach your sensor.
Shooting weddings are quite challenging and you will always find yourself shooting indoors with limited light. In my experience, I can use a smaller aperture as long as there’s a big window inside the hotel room or a lot of natural light to work with.
With that being said, you should remember that a camera and a lens are just tools, it’s still up to you how to utilize them to get the results that you want.
Is an f/4 lens good for low-light shooting?
These lenses are slow for indoor shooting. F/4 is considered a small or slow aperture so in order to use it for low light situations you will need a camera with a good high ISO performance or an external flash.
If you’re shooting static subjects, you can get away shooting at f/4 with a slow shutter speed by using a tripod or putting your camera on a stable surface.
I don’t use f/4 or smaller apertures during low light situations or in the reception where the ambient light can be pretty limited.
Using a smaller aperture means I need to compensate my ISO in order to get a reasonably fast shutter speed to freeze the moment.
And as a wedding photographer, I get paid to deliver outstanding results which is why I use fast lenses for most of my wedding photography.
It lets me shoot at a fast shutter speed in low-light situations, and I also like using it because it gives me more control over my images.
Can you get bokeh with f/4?
Yes, you can get good and non-distracting bokeh with a telephoto lens with an f/4 aperture. 50mm and longer lenses are recommended for this purpose.
Having a full-frame camera will yield better results than a crop sensor camera.
The distance of your subject to its background is also a factor. The farther the subject is from its background, the more pronounced the bokeh effect will be.
Is this aperture good enough for portraits?
It depends on your goal and what kind of portraits you are shooting.
If want sharper images, you’re shooting a group of two or more people and you want all of them to be in focus, then an f/4 lens will work.
If you want to isolate a subject from its background and have them stand out, then no, an f/4 lens is not ideal.
Unless you have a 200mm lens or longer.
What’s the best f-stop to use for couples and wedding photography?
For portraits of the couple, the ideal f-stop is between f/2 to f/4. The reason for this is that you want to make sure that both of them are in focus.
But there are also instances where you want that the bride or the groom is in focus while the other is blurry to create a sense of separation.
In this case, shooting with f/1.2 to f/2 is the way to go.
If your goal is to capture the couple outside of the church or other surrounding areas as a background and you want all of them to be in focus, then use an aperture of around f/5.6 to f/11.
What is better f/2.8 or f4?
For shooting outdoors, groups of people, and full length portraits, f/4 is a better choice. Since it has a greater depth of field which allows you to have sharper images of your subjects.
They will be in focus from head to feet.
F/2.8 lenses are generally better than slower lenses when it comes to indoor shooting and they can provide shallower depth of field.
Having a shallow depth of field is useful to achieve that creamy bokeh that you can use to your advantage when taking portraits.
For shooting weddings, I use both apertures depending on my needs and the quality of the ambient light.
What does f4 mean in photography?
In photography, the term f-stop (aka f-number) is used to describe a setting on your lens that controls how much light gets through the lens and hits the sensor. The lower the number, the more light passes through.
Having an f-stop of f/4 means the lens iris is not fully opened but it allows enough light through to make a good exposure.
It also means that it has a large depth of field, which can make your images appear sharper and in focus.
Wedding photography is a challenging job, and it requires you to be prepared at all times. Using an f/4 lens as a part of your camera gear is not an issue and will never be.
Emma Lucy is the Founder & CEO of Emma Lucy Photography. She has over a decade of experience shooting weddings and other intimate events. She also tests the latest digital camera bodies, lenses, analog cameras and other gear from Canon, Nikon, Sony and other camera brands. She currently lives in London where she spends most of her time being a self-employed professional photographer and writer.