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assignment 5: aperture, depth of field & bokeh

Target: Learn to manipulate the depth of field in your images by choosing the appropriate lens and adjusting the aperture settings on a digital camera.  Creatively choose your focus point, not necessarily the center or closest object.


Directions:  Take images which demonstrate your understanding of aperture settings and depth of field. 


Turn in 4 examples of shallow depth of field with thoughtfully considered bokeh. 

  • set your shooting mode to Av or M

  • use a prime lens or zoom lens in full zoom

  • use the wheel on the camera to decrease your aperture settings (f-stop)

  • consider your composition, making thoughtful decisions about the arrangement of subject matter, balance, lack distractions, and general feeling of the image

  • place yourself and your subject with light in the background some distance away from the subject.

     (city lights, sunset through trees, reflected light, Christmas lights, etc.)



  • portraits and macros make great subject matter for a shallow depth of field

  • focus on creativity (try unusual combinations, tell a story, solve problems, create something unique)

  • the more actual depth you have in your view the more you will be able to manipulate it

  • lights, backlight, reflected light - makes for lovely bokeh



Aperture is the opening between the lens and the shutter that controls the amount of light falling on the CCD sensor.  It is also referred to as f-stops. 














Depth of Field is the zone between the nearest and furthest pointsat which the camera can obtain a sharp focus.


Shallow Depth of Field= large aperture, small f-stop (daylight will require a fast shutter speed so that it won't be washed out)                

Maximum Depth of Field= small aperture, large f-stop (will require a slower shutter speed so it won't be too dark)



Macro Photography is extreme close-up photography, usually of small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than live size. 


                      Use the Macro function to achieve a shallow depth of field by choosing aperture priority and macro on your camera.  Make sure that you are in good 

                      lighting and get very close to your subject.




Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.” Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.




lightroom skills

For every image remember to use LR to:

  • Adjust the color tones, brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, saturation & luminance

  • Crop and straighten images

  • Set the resolution to 300 dpi & limit file size to 15000 k for export

Define your personal editing voice with:

  • Use the brush tool to make adjustments to select areas of the image​

  • Use the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) panel to make individualized color adjustments​

  • Use the split toning panel to adjust shadows and highlights independently​

  • Use the brush tool to do selective edits

Student Examples

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