How to capture depth of field in photography

How to capture depth of field in photography

Depth of Field basics

Photographer-Fisher CC BY-SA

When taking photographs, there is a point at some distance from the camera that is called the «focal point». This is the point where everything at that distance will be in exact focus and everything closer than and further than this point will be out of focus. The greater the distance from the focal point the less in-focus the areas of the scene will be. The «depth of field» is the area near the focal point that will be in focus. This area will be wider at large aperture settings and narrower at small aperture settings. For example, an aperture of 2.8 will have a narrow depth of field where an aperture of 8.0 will have a much wider depth of field.


Step 1

Choose a subject

The first step is to choose the subject or part of the subject that you wish to be the focal point. This is where you will focus the lens to be at it’s sharpest.

Step 2

Frame the subject

Next you want to frame your subject in the viewfinder. If you are trying to have a large depth of field, you want to be sure you see the entire area you are including and try to eliminate any unwanted objects or distracting areas. You can do this by reframing the picture and or moving your position to change the background view.

Step 3

Set the camera

Next you want to choose the shutter speed and aperture you will use to create the depth of field you are trying to produce. You may wish to use aperture priority or use completly manual settings.

Step 4

Take the picture

Once you have these steps completed you are ready to take the picture. It is a good idea to «bracket» the shot one aperture step on either side of the chosen setting to guarantee you get the shot you want.

Things Needed
• A camera with adjustable shutter speed and aperture settings
• A good lens of your choosing
• A subject

Tips & Warnings
• Use the largest F-stop (small aperture) you can to get a wide depth of field.
• Use the smallest F-stop (large aperture) setting you can to get a narrow depth of field.
• A longer lens (Telephoto) will allow a narrower depth of field.
• A shorter lens (wide angle) will allow a wider depth of field.
• Depth of field increases with distance from the subject.


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