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The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin

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Lesson 15. Use Tighter Apertures to Deepen Focus

I’m not sure how it happened that we became so obsessed with wide apertures and thin-as-a-leaf planes of focus, but there is something we seem to like about shallow depth of field. Perhaps it’s the way it simplifies the image and softens the details into color and shape, allowing us to subtly guide the eye of the reader where we want it to go. But while dreamy bokeh (a Japanese word used to describe what, without this word, I’d just call the blurry-out-of-focus bits) gets all the glory, it’s not the only tool in the box. I spent years shooting wide open, happy as can be with my shallow depth of field, until I began making photographs with greater depth, and I wanted my photographs to have sharpness ...

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