When Bigger Is Not Better

Traditional advice for sharp pictures is to set the camera's aperture to the smallest opening, or the biggest F-number. But this is not always necessary. If the subject you are photographing is all at the same distance from the camera, then you do not need lots of depth of field. This means you can use the lens's sharpest aperture instead, which is usually one of the middle apertures, such as f/8 or f/11.

In this photo of an old door on a historic building, my subject is flat; everything is the same distance from the camera. I made sure my camera sensor was also perfectly square to my subject and then set my aperture to f/8. I did not need to stop down further to get a sharp image.

A flat subject can be photographed with the lens's
sharpest aperture, in this case, f/8.

Learn this and other depth of field approaches in my Creative Camera Techniques class that begins Monday, September 25, in Missoula, MT at the Lifelong Learning Center. Click here to register.