wide aperture challenge

5 minute photography challenge – shoot wide open

Whether you’re just starting to learn about photography or have been snapping away for years and want something to get your creativity flowing again, this fun 5 minute photography challenge is for you.

If you’re just beginning and want to put what you’re learning about aperture into practice, then this quick challenge will help you really understand the effect shooting with a wide aperture can have on your photos.

And if you’re familiar with all the technicalities then this little challenge will hopefully get you looking around you with fresh eyes and feeling inspired again.

So, here’s the challenge. 

Grab your camera and shoot wide open.


If you’re new to photography and aren’t sure what that means, it’s basically opening up your lens’ aperture as wide as it’ll go.

So if you have a kit lens on your camera it might be f/3.5, and if you have a prime lens it might be closer to f/1.8.

If you’re serious about improving your photography you might want to think about getting a prime lens if you don’t already have one.  The ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm lens is a great place to start, it was the first prime lens I bought and I still love it now.

Whatever lens you have, set the aperture to its widest setting, which will be the smallest f number available.  Remember, the smaller the f number, the wider the aperture.

And a wider aperture means more light gets into the camera, and the depth of field in the image will be smaller.  So only the main subject of the image will be in focus and the rest of image is soft and blurred.


Now here’s the challenge.

Set your camera to the widest aperture possible, either using aperture priority mode or manual mode if you’re comfortable with adjusting all the different settings.

Then find something or someone to photograph and see if you can take 5 different photos of them in 5 minutes.

When you’re keeping the aperture wide open you’ll need to pay close attention to where your focus point is, and changing that each time, along with changing your position and distance from your subject, will help you create the different images.

So lets say you choose to photograph your baby.

Here are some photos you could take in the 5 minutes:

  • Front-on close up of their face, focused on their eyes
  • Close up detail shot of their little fingers holding on to something
  • The same shot of fingers holding on to something, but from further away and at a slightly different angle
  • Shot from above as they sit, focused on their eyelashes or the swirl of hair on the top of their head
  • Slightly off-centre head and shoulders image, focused on the eye closest to the camera
  • Detail shot of a part of their clothing, like a fun bit of embroidery


The challenge is all about finding ways to create different images of the same subject, using the same wide aperture.

You’ll need to get creative and think about finding different features to focus on, changing your distance from the subject and moving around and shooting from different angles and perspectives.

There are no right or wrong ways to do this.  If something doesn’t work, then move on and try a slightly different angle or focal point.

Above all though, have fun with it!

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