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I have discussed the importance of soft backgrounds on some of my posts. In photography, this is sometimes referred to as Bokeh. Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur visible in the out-of-focus parts of an image. Aperture is the main camera setting used by photographers to control a soft background. I thought it would be useful to provide some examples so that we can compare the differences in an image with different aperture settings.

I was visiting the LBJ Wildflower Center earlier this year when I spotted this pod. I was trying to get the entire pod in focus while blurring the background.  So, I photographed the subject using a variety of aperture settings. The image on the left was photographed using an aperture of f/2.8 (very large lens opening) while the one on the right was photographed using an aperture of f/32 (very small lens opening). You can see that larger lens openings yield a softer background while smaller openings yield more background in focus. This is also referred to as Depth of Field.


Aperture Setting Impact

The aperture numbering system is very confusing so I thought that a graphic depicting the numbers and the simulated aperture openings would be helpful. Larger apertures let in more light but have a shallower depth of field. Smaller apertures let in less light but have a greater depth of field.


Aperture Settings & Depth of Field Impact

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/2.8, f/10 and f/32 respectively. Shutter speeds were at 1/320, 1/25 and 0.4 seconds. ISO was set at 100 for all three images. I created the Triptych in Photoshop.

This image is best when viewed large. Click on the image to enlarge it. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions or suggestions.

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© 2015 T. Kahler Photography

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