When I first started out in photography, I thought every photo had to be taken “wide open”, that is with the lens opened to the widest possible aperture. I wanted the “blurred background” (as I thought of a shallow depth of field at the time); I loved the bokeh and creamy backgrounds that I thought were due solely to using the widest possible aperture.
This week Melisa and I challenged ourselves to again shoot wide open. I took my 50 mm lens, which has the largest possible aperture of all my lenses, and shot a few portraits of my daughter at f/1.4. What I didn’t realize when I was first starting out in photography (well, I didn’t realize a lot of things, but this was one of them!) was that while those soft backgrounds are indeed beautiful, it is so easy to miss focus when shooting that wide. In fact, while I was taking my images for this week’s prompt, I did have slipped focus on a couple of them. Even for the image I am posting, the focus fell more on her headband and less on her eyes! After years of shooting, I now know you can have a nice soft background without shooting wide open all the time, and my sweet spot for shooting now typically lies between f/2.8-f/5, depending on location and subject. More goes into depth of field than aperture choice, and anyway I don’t always feel the need for a blurred background anymore!
See how Melisa experimented with a wide open aperture this week here.