Depth of Field in Photography is an essential concept for photographers. You can also see the term DoF (Depth of Field). Understanding and knowing how to set DoF is necessary for taking beautiful photos in any genre. I continue to publish articles for beginner photographers.
What do you learn in this article?
- What is DoF
- What affects the Depth of Field
- How it works
- What is Shallow DoF
- What is Deep Depth of Field
What is Depth of Field?
The Depth of Field is the part of the frame that is in focus. The whole frame or part of it can be sharp. Each image at the front and back of the object that will be in focus has a certain area of your image, the foreground and background. The ability to set the depth of field helps the photographer to focus on one or another part of the photo.
For example, shallow depth of field is good for portraits, while deep depth of field is good for landscape photography.
There are four main factors that have an effect on the Depth of Field:
- Lens focal length.
- Distance to the subject.
- Sensor size.
Let’s look at these technical features.
Depth of Field and Aperture in Photography
Depth of Field and aperture are interrelated. An aperture is an opening in the lens that transmits light to the sensor. I wrote in detail with the article “Aperture” where I talked about this instrument. Anyway, it looks like this:
– Shallow Aperture = Shallow Depth of Field
– Large Aperture = Deep Depth of Field
The aperture is one of the first tools that photographers use to change the depth of field. I am one of them. I use a large aperture to capture landscapes, and if I want to capture a clear image across the entire field of the frame.
The wide aperture will get a shallow depth of field and I can focus your attention on an individual subject.
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The Depth of Field and the Lens Focal length.
In fact, the focal length has a strong influence on the depth of field. The greater the distance, the lower the depth of field at the same aperture values.
Wide-angle lenses create a greater depth of field, and you can use a smaller aperture. These lenses are an excellent choice for landscape photography.
But if you use a 200mm telephoto lens, the image will not be sharp in the foreground or background, even if you set the f/22. Telephoto lenses are good for portrait photography and for shooting distant landscapes without the foreground.
Understanding this allows you to use your lenses creatively.
The distance to the subject.
The closer your object is to the camera, the less depth of field it becomes.
Sometimes novice photographers get trapped. Because a wide angle lens produces a full frame sharp picture. Some photographers place objects in the foreground too close to the lens. This error causes the background not to be in focus. Removing from your subject will result in a deep depth of field.
You should always consider the distance from your object and the depth of field of your lens. Older lenses had a detailed focusing scale. And the photographer could easily change the depth of field.
Modern lenses do not have this scale. I advise you to study the specifications of your lenses, study the table and upload it to your smartphone.
The sensor size affects the depth of field. When I prepared this article, I collected data on sensors of different sizes.
If you shoot at the same distance from an object with the same aperture value, you will find that larger sensors have a lower depth of field.
How The Depth of Field improve my images
Depth of field control is one of the most important tools at your disposal, as sharp images are important factors in getting this great shot. DoF is the best tool you need.
Knowing how to make the parts of the image you want to sharpen is a great artistic tool to create great images.
When do you need a Shallow Depth of Field?
Use shallow depth of field for sports, portrait, wild and landscape photography. Short depth of field also helps you use slow shutter speeds.
Deep Depth of Field
Most of the landscape photographs were taken with the Deep Depth of Field. But in most cases, you will need a tripod, because the shutter speed will be long.
Most mirrors have a DoF preview button. Press the button and look through the viewfinder. You will see the real image. Owners of mirrorless cameras see the photo directly on the screen. But you can also use Live View on your DSLR and see the real scene on the camera screen.
Six Way to Control Depth of Field.
- Deep Depth of Field.
- Make less wide the Aperture (high f-number).
- Move away from the subject.
- Set Shorter Focal Length.
- Shallow Depth of Field.
- Open the Aperture (less f-number).
- Сome closer to the subject.
- Set Longer Focal Length.
Spend time experimenting with your camera. Use lenses with different focal lengths, change the aperture, come closer or away from the object. Analyze your photos to know how your equipment works. You can take a few more pictures and view them on the LCD screen. Seeing your images is much easier than pulling out your phone and calculating DoF.
I have briefly described in this article what is the Depth of Field. If you are interested in learning this in more detail, you can read here.
MORE EXPOSURE RESOURCES
- Understanding ISO
- The Aperture in Landscape photography
- The Shutter speed
- Exposure triangle
- The Histogram in Photography
- White Balance is part of the Exposition
- Exposure Triangle cheat sheet
- Shutter speed chart
Anyone have any tips to add? Please share in the comments!