Know your stuff Why aperture affects how the sun appears in your image, and how can you use that to your advantage
We’ve discussed how shooting with a smaller aperture will (generally) give you a sharper overall image, but there’s another factor to consider when shooting into the sun: the size of your aperture affects the way its rays are captured. This is due to diffraction. As you close down your aperture, the shape of the hole through which light enters your camera begins to have an increased defining effect on your light source. At really small apertures, even the junctions between your aperture blades start to impact that shape – you’ll notice your light source start to streak. These are called sunbursts (or starbursts). Shoot with a narrow aperture for images in which you want the sun to be more of a subject. The narrower your aperture, the more defined it will be. Close it down to f/18 or more if you want to include sunbursts in your image. This effect will be exaggerated even more if the sun is obscured slightly by foreground objects such as trees. Shoot with a wider aperture for scenes with a warmer glow. Shots with wider apertures tend to have a more dreamy, inviting feel because your light source is less defined and contributes more to the overall warm hue of the image.