Distance and Aperture

Photo settings: F11, 1/500 second shutter speed.

Photo Settings: F8, 1/400 second shutter speed

Here’s something that took me years to figure out… How much of your picture is in focus depends on alot of things. One of those things is how far you are from your subject. The closer you get, the smaller the depth of field gets. Take the two pictures above, for instance. Even though I photographed the bird at F8 (larger aperture), there is still more of the picture in focus than the flower picture, which I took at F11 (smaller aperture). The difference is that I was about 25 meters (almost 30 yards) away from the bird, and about 25 centimeters (less than a foot) away from the flower. So, if you want to get more of your closeups in focus, set your aperture as small as you can get away with. Remember, the smaller your aperture gets, the longer your shutter speed has to be. Luckily, most flowers don’t move around much, so you have more time to experiment with different apertures.

3 Responses to “Distance and Aperture”

  1. Manuel Says:

    That flower picture you have – that is the kind of pictures I want to take!

  2. jackalope Says:

    The concept of aperture was brought home to me when I realized that squinting your eyes (which decreases the size of the pupil, or aperture) makes more things at different distances come into focus (especially if you’re nearsighted like I am). I have never forgotten this practical example and it’s one of my favorite concepts in photography.

  3. Nicola Says:

    James – thank you for this one especially – explains much!

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