Aperture in Macro

In close-up, or macro shooting, aperture is very critical. We like the look of out-of-focus backgrounds, but have to resist the temptation to set the lens to wide open. Very often, wide open apture in macro gives you too little depth of field. So the best aperture is a tricky thing to acheive. If you can, bracket from max to min, as I have done here. Somewhere in the middle, from 8 to 11 might give the best result, but there is no absolute rule. It depends on how close you are to the subject and how far away the background sits. 

spring bud FAKE aperture
spring bud f 2.8
spring bud f 4
spring bud f 5.6
spring bud f 8
spring bud f 11
spring bud f 16
spring bud f 22
spring bud FAKE aperture
spring bud f 2.8
spring bud f 4
spring bud f 5.6
spring bud f 8
spring bud f 11
spring bud f 16
spring bud f 22
spring bud FAKE aperture
spring bud f 2.8
spring bud f 4
spring bud f 5.6
spring bud f 8
spring bud f 11
spring bud f 16
spring bud f 22
Left
Right

FAKE aperture! Since the lens I used for this sequence only had 7 full aperture options, f2.8 to 22, I cut out the flower and placed in a fake soft background. Sorry about that!

Flower at f2.8 The background is soft and creamy, but the flower doesn't have enough depth of field.

Flower at f4 The background is still pretty soft, but the flower still needs more depth of field

Flower at f5.6 Here the background is fuzzy enough, and the depth of field on the flower is better.

Flower at f8  This might be a good balance of sharp flower and soft background.

Flower at f11 Flower nice and sharp, but background losing its softness.

Flower at f16 Flower nice and sharp, but background losing its softness.

Flower at f22. The background is clearly too well-defined here. But sometimes even f22 can work for macro if the background is plain, like the sky.

FAKE aperture! Since the lens I used for this sequence only had 7 full aperture options, f2.8 to 22, I cut out the flower and placed in a fake soft background. Sorry about that!

Flower at f2.8 The background is soft and creamy, but the flower doesn't have enough depth of field.

Flower at f4 The background is still pretty soft, but the flower still needs more depth of field

Flower at f5.6 Here the background is fuzzy enough, and the depth of field on the flower is better.

Flower at f8  This might be a good balance of sharp flower and soft background.

Flower at f11 Flower nice and sharp, but background losing its softness.

Flower at f16 Flower nice and sharp, but background losing its softness.

Flower at f22. The background is clearly too well-defined here. But sometimes even f22 can work for macro if the background is plain, like the sky.