The Depth of Field is an important concept for photographers. You can also see the term DoF (Depth of Field). Understanding and ability to set DoF is needed to shoot beautiful photos in any genre. I continue to publish articles for beginning photographers “Simple Photography”.
Landscape Photography a Comprehensive guide for beginners is an e-book that will allow you to learn the basics of photography and teach you to take beautiful pictures of different types of landscape in all weather conditions.
What do you learn in this article?
- What is Depth of Field
- What affects the Depth of Field
- How Depth of Field work
- What is Shallow Depth of Field
- 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 it is part can be sharp. On each image in front and behind of the subject that will be in focus, there is a certain area of your image, these are Foreground and Background. The ability to set the Depth of Field helps the photographer to accentuate attention on one or another part of the photo.
For example, a Shallow Depth of Field is good for portraits, and a 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 in Photography
Depth of Field and Aperture
Depth of field and aperture are interrelated. The aperture is a hole in the lens that transmits light to the sensor. I wrote in detail with the article “Aperture” in which I talked about this tool. In short, it looks like this:
– Shallow Aperture = Shallow Depth of Field
– Large Aperture = Deep Depth of Field
Aperture is one of the first tools that photographers use to change the Depth of Field. I’m one of them. I use a large Aperture for shooting Landscapes, and if I want to take a sharp image throughout the field of the frame.
A Wide Aperture will get a Shallow Depth of Field and I can focus your attention on a separate subject.
The Depth of Field and the Lens Focal length.
In fact, the focal distance greatly affects the Depth of Field. The greater distance gets the shallower DoF at the same values of the Aperture.
Wide-Angle lenses create Deep Depth of Field and you can use a smaller aperture. Such 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 and background even if you set the f/22. Telephoto lenses are good for portrait shooting and for shooting distant landscapes without the foreground.
Understanding this question gives you the ability for creative use of your lenses.
The distance to the subject.
The closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower Depth of Field becomes.
Sometimes beginners photographers fall into the trap. Since the wide-angle lens creates a full-frame sharp picture. Some photographers put objects in the foreground too close to the lens. This mistake causes the background to be out of focus. Deleting from your subject will deep Depth of Field.
You should always consider the distance from the subject and the Depth of Field of your lens. Old lenses had a detailed focusing scale. And the photographer could change the Depth of Field easy.
Modern lenses do not have this scale. I advise you to study the technical features of your lenses, study the table and download it on your smartphone.
The sensor size affects the Depth of the Field. When I was preparing this article, I collected data on various sensor sizes.
If you shoot at the same distance from the subject with the same aperture values, you will find that larger sensors have a shallower Depth of Field.
How The Depth of Field improve my images
Control The Depth of Field is one of the most important tools at your disposal because having sharp images is important factors for taking this great shot. DoF is the best tool you need.
Knowing how to make the parts of an image that you want to get sharp is an excellent artistic tool for creating great images.
When do you need a Shallow Depth of Field?
Use the Shallow Depth of Field to shot sports, portrait, wildlife and landscape photography. Moreover, a short DoF helps to use short shutter speed.
Deep Depth of Field
Most landscape photographs are shot with Deep Depth of Field. But in most cases, you will need a tripod since the shutter speed will be long.
Most DSLRs have a DoF preview button. Press on a button and look through the viewfinder. You will see the real image. Owners of mirrorless cameras see the photo immediately on the screen. But you can also use the Live View on DSLR and see the real scene on the camera screen too.
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 move farther away from the subject. Analyze your photos so you know how your gear works. You can take some more pictures and watch it on the LCD. Seeing your images is much easier than pulling out the phone and calculating the 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!