The importance of aperture and how your choice of depth of field can affect the story!

Whilst recently testing the Fujifilm X-T1, I came across some interesting trees covered in a rich green moss. I was curious how, when I changed the aperture, the depth-of-field changed too.

Watch the video here!

Highlights of this video:
0:21 – f22 aperture image
0:38 – f5.6… see the difference!
1:21 – Which do you prefer?

The Deep Depth of Field

I took a couple of shots at 135mm with my aperture set to F22. As you can see, the very small hole in the lens (aperture) gave a deep depth of field, allowing much of the moss covered bark to be seen.

Click the image to see it LARGE…

It’s a nice image for my back catalogue of stock shots, perhaps to be used as a high opacity texture overlay, or maybe for a composite of its own in Photoshop.

The Shallow Depth of Field

Knowing I already had the shot that I needed, I decided to experiment a little by reducing my f-stop to F5.6. I took my shot and as you can see, the moss is much more focused on one central area, with the background spilling out as a blur.

Click the image to see it LARGE…

Deep or Shallow Depth of Field?

There is no right or wrong depth of field, it just depends on the individual look that you want. The shallow depth of field in this shot makes for a stronger overall picture, to me. However I would be much more inclined to use my first shot at F22 as an all over consistent texture.

Aperture Affects Depth of Field

Now I’m starting to think about how we use aperture and what area I want the viewer to focus upon in the image. This is especially interesting in landscape photography and what kind of story the shot should tell. By looking at where the focus is on the image, we can determine what the photograph is trying to say and how the eye of the viewer should travel a certain way.

So from this quick decision to take a second shot, I have given myself a quick tip:

  • realising the effect of Aperture and Depth of Field; 
  • And what a difference it can make to the narrative

How often do you consider depth of field in your images? Do you often use a shallow depth of field to draw the viewer’s eye deliberately to a certain area? Or do you prefer a more open aperture so the narrative is wider in full frame?
I’d love to hear your stories, perhaps we will inspire each other to challenge ourselves with settings we might not usually use!

Leave me your comments below.


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