I used to think that a small aperture, which allows for maximum sharpness of an image from near to far, was the best approach to my photographs. But I’ve since learned that using wide apertures in some situations makes for a much more artistically pleasing image. A wide aperture will give you a much shallower depth of field, but sometimes having everything in sharp focus is just too much information for one picture to handle.
Here’s two photos I took of some tansy plants. I decided to experiment with using a wide aperture of f/2.8. In the first photograph the front group of flowers is in sharp focus. In the second photograph, I focused on the flowers in the rear and allowed the foreground flowers to blur.
Changing the area that you choose to have in focus can create a significant difference in an image’s appearance, and that affects how a viewer responds to the image.