Today’s photo is one that I took during the lockdowns. It was shot at a wide aperture that gets the robin in sharp focus while the background has a nice bokeh. The background is blurred. This is essentially a portrait and a wide aperture is suitable for portraits of people, birds, pets and flowers. A wide aperture is also suitable for still-life photography. A wide aperture allows more light to enter the camera and the balance between aperture and shutter speed means you can usually use a faster shutter speed. The depth of field is shallow with a wide aperture. In this picture, the robin and the branch it is sitting on are in the same focal plane.
Different lenses have different maximum apertures. I shot this picture with a 28 – 300mm lens with a maximum aperture of 4.5. More expensive lenses can give you even wider apertures and sharper images. Zooming in on your subject also narrows that focal plane.
I shot this picture with a narrow aperture that brings things that are farther away into focus. Think of it as squinting when you want to see something farther away. This is Highfield House in West Bromwich. I probably shot this at F8 because there wasn’t a lot of light. F16 is often termed sunny 16 because you need it quite sunny and with lots of light to shoot at F16. In countries where it is normal to have lots of sunshine, F16 and a fast shutter speed in excess of 1/100 of a second would be ideal for landscape shots. In the UK we have to shoot narrower and we often have to set higher ISO settings to cope with poor light. We do however often get dramatic skies. As I write this the sun is starting to set and an array of colours are beginning to form in the West. So shoot wide for a close-up like portraits and narrow for landscapes.