Optimal Aperture For Foreground Sharpness At Infinity

The technical bits of photography can be a bit tricky. Understanding the effects of different aperture settings comes with lots of experimenting. For example, focusing at infinity sounds fairly straight forward. Essentially everything in the background will be in focus. But depending on the aperture you have set, the items in the foreground may be out of focus. Luckily Robert Seber has posted this helpful chart to his Flickr photostream showing the minimum distance you need to be to get everything sharp and in focus.

Optimal Aperture For Foreground Sharpness At Infinity

To quote Robert on how to read this chart:

Suppose you are using a 20mm lens focused at infinity. Something in the foreground is 12ft away. The point at which 12ft and 20mm intersect is closest to the f/13 line, so f/13 is the aperture to use.

Suppose you are using a 50mm lens focused at infinity. Something in the foreground is 6ft away. No line on the graph is close to this. At this point you need to re-think your shot and move further from the foreground, otherwise it will be intolerably soft. 26ft to the foreground will allow you to use an aperture of f/22.

Suppose you are using a 10mm lens focused at infinity. Something in the foreground is 12ft away. You’re above the f/8 line so f/8 will work just fine.

The basic rule to take away from this is the longer the focal length you use the smaller the aperture you will need to use to get the foreground sharp, or the further you need to move back.

You should also check out Robert’s photos. His macros are really top notch.

Aye Aye, Grasshopper

Flickr Should Copy DeviantART Not YouTube

When I heard that Flickr is nearly ready to add video capabilities, I felt a bit queasy. Flickr is the leader in the photo sharing arena by a large margin. The main reason it reached critical mass was because of the community it built around the photos uploaded by users. It is also one of the harder sites to monetize since display advertising clashes with photo viewing and there isn’t enough text content for contextual advertising to work. The $24.95 Pro memberships (which can be given as gifts *wink wink*) keep Flickr from being a total money-sink.

Flickr Bleeds Money

Photos require a large chunk of bandwidth to serve up to the millions of Flickr users, but that is nothing compared to the overhead of video. This is probably a moot point considering the company is running off the pipes of it’s owner, web pioneer Yahoo.

While there are good and bad reasons for Flickr to add video, I don’t think they can compete in such a crowded video-sharing marketplace. Did Vimeo, Viddler, Revver, Daily Motion, Blip.tv, Veoh, and the all mighty YouTube leave anything for Flickr to improve upon? It looks like Flickr will have a long, uphill battle to even catch up to the middle of the pack.

Flickr has a huge community around photos and what they need to do is offer more photo related services. Many artists on Flickr have an account at 3rd party sites for selling prints of their work. Flickr could offer fine-art prints from members that opt-in to sell their photos with the service. This way Flickr would tie the browsing and buying experience together and could make a small profit off of each transaction. An example of another art site doing something similar is DeviantART.com (see my prints.).

DeviantART lets users upload as many photos as they want with no file size limitations, just like Flickr. Every member is eligible to opt-in to the standard print account which allows them to sell their art work and receive a cut of the profits. A Premium print account is available for $24.95 a year and offers more print customizations and a higher share of the profits from a sale. These are not run-of-the-mill snapshot prints like at Walmart or Costco. DeviantART does high quality work. The beauty of this is DeviantART can set a base price which includes a tiny profit with every transaction as well as helping out it’s communities. When community members profit, the company profits as well.

DeviantART’s Print Management

Flickr needs something like this! How could such a megasite sit back and watch it’s users point potential customers off to make a purchase? This is money that they are letting go by under their noses. And what do they plan to do with video anyways? Nobody has figured out a successful way to monetize video.

Flickr already has an intuitive interface for uploading, tagging, and browsing photos, why can’t they add selling photos to that list? I feel offering a way for the community to profit off their work while helping Flickr earn it’s keep makes everyone happy. This is way better than adding the latest me-too feature that is already pervasive throughout the web.

Two Flickr Photographers To Watch

Thanks to the Flickr Interestingness widget on my Netvibes page, I stumbled across two Flickr members with gorgeous work.

First up is Sakura who does a lot of floral macro work. What really makes her photos stand out is the bright, vibrant colors that are usually blurred into the background. She sells prints of her photos at Imagekind.

Lady Bug on Flower

Red flower on blue background

Spring Sprung


Time To Go Home

Ajisai Blue

Next I stumbled upon JayJuice who drew me in with her pictures of minimalistic urban landscapes. I love how she can find beauty in an everyday scene. Prints from JayJuice are available at Red Bubble.

Yellow Squares, Black Light

Silver Light, Blue Wall


Grungey Wall

Industrial Wall with Wires

Yellow Railing, Gray Wall

If you are looking for photographic inspiration, take a look at the rest of the galleries these two offer on Flickr.