I Have a Canon rebel SL2. I know I can't get a lower F stop. However, does the type of lense you use control that? Or is it just "in" the Camera?(if this makes sense) i've been reading up a little on different lenses and they seem to indicate that a lower F stop is achievable with some lenses. Advice??

Hey Michelle! So--I think it sounds like you're on the right track with your research on the lens. The f stop in a lens is a major player in the background look of your images. So, if you were to buy a lens with a lower f stop, say a 1.8 or a 2.8--the background of your images will have more of a blurred/bokeh looks. Lenses with a higher f stop produces a crisper background. (Generally speaking, higher f stops tend to be better for landscape photography, and wider images. Lower f stops are better for portrait work, and anything you want a softer background for.) Zoom lenses have an f stop range and prime lenses have a fixed f stop that doesn't change.

I hope this helps a little.

Thank you Mel! I so appreciate this advice. Im so amateur that I didn't know a lot of this. Im going to look into that type of lens. This is very helpful!

Can you suggest a lens?   I was looking at one but it appears you have to be 2 feet or so from your subject. Would be nice if I had one that I could take maybe full body shots, and get the blur effect, ( more than Im getting now) Is there a sort of "universal lens with a low f stop?  Thanks!

Hi Michelle. I have been shooting with a Canon (crop sensor) camera like you have since cameras went digital. I own several lenses that I use for different purposes and have used all of them for quite a while and can attest that the ones I mention here will do the job for you. FOR TRAVEL I've used a Tamron 16-300 stabilized lens for 95% of my pictures. Research and hands on play at the camera store has told me not to "upgrade" to the newer Tamron 18-400 lens. It is longer, wider, heavier, and more expensive than the 16-300. "They" say the picture quality of the 18-400 is not quite as good either. I have found that I use the full width of the 16mm end of the lens quite often and seldom approach the 300 end of that lens. 400 would be overkill for tourist travel. FOR PORTRAITS (head and shoulders) I use a Tamron 85mm which is a stabilized lens. It is also a wonderful lens for indoor sports. FOR PORTRAITS (indoors - playing children- more than one person sometimes) I and all 3 of my daughters use a 35mm stabilized Canon lens. Awesome! FOR VERY INEXPENSIVE GLASS that will take excellent portraits we also use a 50mm Canon (non-stabilized). All 3 of the fixed focal length lenses are fast, meaning they have wide maximum apertures that will allow for creamy out of focus backgrounds. The 85mm is f1.8. The 50mm is f1.8. And the 35mm is f2. I agree with Mel who wrote you a while ago. Stay with a lens that is 2.8 or wider at it's maximum aperture if you are going to take portraits. If you buy a zoom lens, Canon, Tamron, and Sigma all make lenses in the 17-55mm range that have a maximum aperture of 2.8 that will work nicely indoors. FOR FLOWERS AND INSECTS you want a "macro" lens. They can be spendy, but they also make great portrait lenses if you have room to stand back from your subject. From all the positive reviews I have read over the years you can not go wrong with a Tamron 90mm macro. I do not own that lens because I bought a Canon 100mm used. That is also a fantastic lens for macro and portraits. I have personally purchased quite a few used lenses on ebay and Craigslist and have saved a great deal of money. Each lens worked perfectly. I am not afraid to buy used. Good luck.

Thank you Paul! This is super helpful! I appreciate the time, you and Mel took to "educate" an amature photographer, that just wants to "get" it . Thank you so much!

Hey Michelle! I had missed your follow up question--sorry! I really love my 50mm lens. I use it for a TON of what I do. Flowers, portraits, etc...