A selection of our favourite images is available for PRINTS! ๐Ÿ“ธ


The lucky numbers

A young man reaches for his tea in a local Sri Lanka tea shop - Pics Of Asia Black And White Photography

The lucky numbers

Maybe because I live in Asia and here there is something around lucky numbers.


The idea came to me a few years ago (took me that long to write this article!) when a student on Hoi An Photo tour told me she was way too confused with all the numbers. You have “fraction strange things numbers” (shutter speed), “numbers who get bigger when getting smaller” (Aperture), and “numbers with too many 0” (ISO). Yes, we had a good laugh on that day.


Anyway, something I found out could be useful for a beginner who is quite confused with their settings, is to find their lucky numbers.

Pao people harvesting rice in Myanmar

While shooting in Aperture priority, most convenient for Travel photography focused on people, the main thing we really care about is our Aperture. Your ISO will not give you a more beautiful photo or make you creative, and the shutter speed is automatic (of course we do care about it, making sure it is not too slow and we don’t get blurry images).


So, now I want to take a picture, but I don’t know if I should use f/2.8 or f/3.2 or f/3.5…. Haaaa too many numbers!


Well, why don’t you keep things simple? It will not really change your picture to go from f/2.8 to f/3.2. There is no much point changing your Aperture so little.


So what about deciding about using the same Aperture values all the time? For example with my 50 mm lens, I will most of time walk around and shoot at f/2.0. If I want a little more sharpness I will close the Aperture down to f/2.8, or f4.0. If I want everything to be sharp, like for a landscape or some street photography I will close it down to f/8.0. And that’s it, I will only use these 4 numbers.

Dhaka-shipyards-etiennebossot (16)

If I walk around with my wide angle, I will most of the time be at f/11. If I want to photograph people with it I might open it to f/8.0. And if I want to slow my shutter speed down I will close it down to f/16. That’s it, 3 numbers.


Try it, it may make your life a little easier. ย And you really love these numbers, have them tattooed on your body so you don’t forget ๐Ÿ˜‰



Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Tony Delaney on February 22, 2016 at 3:30 am

    That information is very helpful JP,I too get confused by “too many numbers”… Thanks.

  2. Callie on January 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    What about 35mm lens? Which lucky number should I set? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Etienne on January 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Callie, it all depends on the type of photography you do. If you are walking the streets for some good street shots maybe then you should walk around with an aperture of f8. But if you are doing some travel things and potentially portraits maybe f4 is more suitable. It also depends on how you like your pictures.

Leave a Comment