Aperture is important

Rules are made to be broken but apertures are meant to be set low.

Aperture is what gives a photo that pretty Bokeh-blurred background. It’s not scary, I promise!
It’s a tool that is so easy to learn and use.

Here are some words and phrases that you’ll hear when we talk about aperture:
Other ways of saying aperture: f-stop and f/
Shallow depth of field = Bokeh
Shooting wide open = low aperture = BLURRED
Shooting closed = high aperture = everything and its mom is in focus



I explained the ins and outs of how to use aperture in my youtube video on shooting manual, but now I want to
show you the difference with these side-by-side examples!

Let me be clear before I show you examples, not all lenses are created equal with these rules. If you have a lens with a long focal length like the Canon 70-200mm, the aperture capability is f/2.8 and that lens has GREAT bokeh. When you have a lens that is 85mm or lower, try to keep your aperture under f/2.0! I promise it’s worth it.



This first photo was taken at f/1.4. You can see Harper is separated nicely from the creamy background. Then the second photo is shot at f/4 - less creamy and Harper is fighting for the focus with the trees in the background. little girl named harper standing in the woods in Colorado Springs in a cute skirt and shirt.
This first photo was taken at f/1.4. You can see Harper is separated nicely from the creamy background. Then the second photo is shot at f/4 – less creamy and Harper is fighting for the focus with the trees in the background.


Having a low aperture is the only way to achieve that extra shallow depth of field,
but these are other great ways of getting great bokeh!


1. Put distance between your subject and the background

If there’s a wall directly behind your subject, the wall will be in focus with the subject.
So pull your subject away from the background if you’re able!
And hey, do both to get some variety!

Both photos shot at f/1.4.  Left photo: subjects right against the rock so the rocks are in focus.  Right Photo: Subjects are far away from rocks causing the rocks to have bokeh.


2. Get closer to your subject
Below is a photo of Natalie in the cute pink ZIYA jacket. Both of these photos of her are set to a f/1.4 aperture, but the first photo has more bokeh than the other. This is a great example of what happens when you’re close to your subject VS when you’re standing further back. The photo with Natalie really close to the camera gives the background a super blurry look while the full body photo gives more detail.

the closer you are to the subject, the blurrier the background will be. If you move further back, the background will be 
more in focus. This isn't a bad thing, variety is important with any session you do.
The closer you are to the subject, the blurrier the background will be. If you move further back, the background will be
more in focus. This isn’t a bad thing, variety is important with any session you do.

There isn't a difference in settings between these two photos. It was just a difference in focal length (one was zoomed in, one was not!). The first photo is shot at 70 mm and the second was at 200 mm.
There isn’t a difference in settings between these two photos. It was just a difference in focal length (one was zoomed in, one was not!).
The first photo is shot at 70 mm and the second was at 200 mm.
One of these was shot with f/1.4 and one was shot with f/8. Take a guess which one I love more haha.

Practice makes perfect, do some test shots so you know what you are capable of!
I would LOVE to see how this works for you, so let me know!!

I’ve had people tell me they’re ready to start shooting with a low aperture but they don’t have a lens that goes below f/4.0 (Looking at you, kit lenses!) Here are my favorite lenses and camera bodies at every price point: ASHLEE’S BAG








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