Photography Tips for Paper Crafters - Aperture and Bokeh

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Let's talk about the terms "aperture, shutter speed and ISO." All three of these camera settings are interconnected and play a major role in determining the final appearance of your photo. This article will focus on how aperture affects bokeh (or "background blur").

What is Bokeh?

In photography, bokeh is the blur,or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. (source: Wikipedia). The image above features the tea pot from our Tea For You and Me SVG Kit and was taken using various aperture values. As you can see, the lower the aperture value, the more blur. How much blur is best? That is completely up to you and your artistic vision. :)

Bokeh Tips and Tricks

  • If you are not comfortable shooting in manual mode and want to try this right away, turn your camera's dial to Aperture Priority (Av on Canon and A on Nikon) and set your aperture to the lowest value possible (1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6). Aperture priority forces your camera to take a photograph using the aperture you specify. The camera will then automatically adjust the shutter speed and ISO in order to properly expose the photo. (Hey, you are two steps away from shooting in manual mode!)
  • Remember, lower aperture values equal more blur! Note: It's possible to have too much blur, especially when shooting small objects. Take your shot and see if you like the level of blur. If it's too out-of-focus, increase the aperture value and shoot again!
  • If you have your aperture value set as low as it goes and you're still not happy with the blur, create more space between the background and your subject (by physically moving the subject away from the background) and shoot again.

Some recommended affordable lenses

  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8D
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Keep in mind that some lenses don't go as low as 1.4 or even 2.8. Low aperture values are normally found in more expensive lenses. You'll rarely find these lenses bundled with cameras because of the cost involved in producing them. When you buy a camera with a bundled lens, don't expect that lens to be amazing. Most experienced photographers would recommend buying ONLY a camera body and purchasing a lens separately.

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