DEPTH OF FIELD – Photography Tip #5

After posting my tip on backgrounds, several people thought I should offer a tip showing exactly what I do to adjust the depth of field.  So… 

When choosing your desired depth of field, the operative word is choosing. Don’t ignore this very important aspect of creative photography.  If you allow your camera to determine the depth of field, you will likely be disappointed.  Or at the very least, you will have a photograph that could have been better – more creative. 

In the following photographs, I shot the same flower but used a different aperture setting for each shot. 

f/25 

 

© copyright 2010 

To change the depth of field (how much of your scene is sharp, both in front of and behind your focal point) you need to learn the simple logistics of aperture settings. 

Choose a narrow aperture (high number, f/25) to create a deeper depth of field and make everything behind your focal point appear in focus. 

Choose a wide aperture (low number, f/4 or less) to create a shallow depth of field and make everything behind your focal point appear out of focus. 

f/18 

 

© copyright 2010 

f/11 

 

© copyright 2010 

f/4 


 © copyright 2010 

All of my examples were shot at ISO 100 and a focal length of 100mm, but by adjusting the aperture from f/25 down to f/4, the background becomes more out of focus and less distracting.  This helps the flower stand out from its surroundings. 

Unfortunately if you have a point and shoot digital camera, you will have a very limited opportunity to get creative with your depth of field.  In fact, you probably have no opportunity to adjust aperture.  That doesn’t mean all hope is gone.  But, you will have to move to a position that will place the background far enough away from the focal point to automatically blur.  Many times it won’t be possible.  But even with a point and shoot, you might get lucky, as I did with this shot.  This photo was taken using my Nikon L110 digital point and shoot camera.  It’s still one of my favorite shots.

  

© Copyright 2010  

This photo 

 was shot using an  

 aperture setting of f/25

 focal length 100mm 

 ISO 100 

 © copyright 2010  

 

 This photo 

was shot using an  

aperture setting of f/4 

focal length 100mm 

ISO 100 

© copyright 2010  

 

Advertisements

~ by photographyfree4all on July 1, 2010.

6 Responses to “DEPTH OF FIELD – Photography Tip #5”

  1. Thank you so much for this info. I’ve been hearing a lot about DOF lately, but there’s so much to learn it was beginning to seem overwhelming. This seems like just a simple step to take to make a dramatic improvement. I’m going to grab my camera right now and give it a try.

    Like

  2. I get asked this question a lot and this is a really nice visual explanation. I recommend those new to photography try and recreate the photos you have here as a good exercise to really get a feel for how depth of field works.

    Like

  3. nice shoot… & tips… (Honestly, I love people playing with photography), Personally, we play the same game with different gears & accessories. Glad to have you as friend. TQ

    Like

  4. Wow, thanks so much for this! I recently bought myself a Smena Symbol, a super-old film camera made in the USSR (it’s THAT old). It has full control over aperture, focus and speed, and I was getting a bit confused.

    I know of the ‘sunny 16’ rule, but this post just goes to show that sometimes you need to bend the rules!

    Like

  5. Thanks for stopping by, David. Wow! That sounds like a really cool camera! I hope you’ll stop by again, soon.

    Like

  6. […] I quickly learned that shooting flowers from above was not the best way to present the beauty of the flowers.  Ideally, you want to move to a lower perspective which will allow the background to be further away, giving you the opportunity to select a large aperture which will blur the background naturally.  I talk about Depth of Field in this Photography Tip. […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: