Tips on Depth Of Field?
By Diane Bohlen
DOF is the line of sight from your eye to the far reaches of your composition. By manipulating the DOF we can bring into focus certain elements of the composition.
Using composition and DOF is a powerful way to centre your viewer’s focus on certain aspects of your image, especially portraits, animals and flowers.
If you are shooting a landscape with flowers in the foreground, meadows in the middle and mountains in the background and you want everything to be in focus, you choose a wide-angle lens and you choose a small aperture, (which actually is a large number like f/22). This will give you the sharpest focus possible throughout the picture. Sometimes, however you want a limited DOF. For example when you are doing portraits, you want the person to be in sharp focus and the background to be a soft blur so that your subject stands out.
To have a shallow DOF you would choose a telephoto lens and wide aperture (which is a small number, like f/4). This will put the objects in front of your subject and behind your subject in a soft blur, while your focus point or subject will be sharp.
When you want to be creative, you can also use DOF to make interesting pictures that stand out from the rest.
So to achieve a shallow Depth Of Field we need to:
§ Use a large aperture (small f/stop number)
§ Move camera closer to the subject
§ Beware camera shake. Use tripod
§ Add focal length. Focal length is the distance of the lens from the sensor
§ Use Telephoto / Zoom
§ Try to get a distance between the subject and the background
§ Try not to have a cluttered background
Sometimes the DOF can be too shallow because length is long. For example when using a telephoto / zoom lens to capture a bird. This can make part of the bird out of focus. To correct this use a smaller aperture and maybe a flash.
Point and Shoot
Macro settings can achieve a similar effect.
Check your manual for minimum distance. Choose large aoerture so that background is out of focus.
Use a tripod to avoid camera shake especially if zoomed. Check to see if you can control aperture, some cameras can.
Get distance between subject to background Try to get uncluttered background. Remember composition rule of thirds. Focal point should be placed in a smart position.
Point and Shoot Cameras have little control over flash or macro settings. Check if your camera can control the amount of flash – if so, lower it. If not use a diffuser e.g. tissue paper.
..your picture in the LCD screen. Zoom in to see if focus is sharp.
Too much bright light washes out details.
§ Different Apertures
§ Different angles
§ Different focal points