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Lesson 1: Discovering Depth of Field

Merry Christmas!
18th December 2019
close proximity creates a shallow deth of field.
Lesson 2: Discovering Depth of Field
10th January 2020
SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD

Shallow depth of field

Lesson 1: Discovering Depth of Field. Part 1

Depth of field, put simply, is how much of the picture is in focus. You might want to shoot a photo which is sharp from the foreground to the horizon ( commonly called a long or deep depth of field), or one where the main subject is in focus and the rest of the image is blurry (a short or shallow depth of field) We are going to start by looking at ways we can change that. The first way is by changing the aperture.

A short Youtube video demonstrating how aperture changes depth of field

You will need:


A subject of your choosing. Find something between 50-100 cm across, like a vase with flowers, or some fruit, or a statuette.
A camera with adjustable aperture; all DSLRs, Mirrorless and Bridge cameras have this. Some advanced compacts do too.

Camera Settings


Set your camera into Aperture Priority (A or Av mode) if you have it and put ISO on Auto. (If you are stuck, message me with your camera model, and I shall tell you how.)

When you rotate the adjustment wheel of your camera, the aperture size will change. You should see this change on the cameras display, you might not see it in the lens.

The display will show a number preceded by the letter f. You might not be able to see it, but this will adjust the aperture of an iris inside your camera’s lens. A wide aperture will have a low number like f/1.8 or f/3.5. A narrow aperture has a high number, e.g. f/18 or f/22. The lowest and highest number will depend on your lens.

Take the shots

Stand about a metre from your chosen subject. Carefully squeeze the shutter button. Shoot one photograph at the widest aperture (smallest f/ number) and one at the narrowest . Compare the two shots. The one taken with a wide aperture should have a more blurred background that the one with the narrowest aperture.

More about depth of field next time.

Let me see your shots! Add a comment below and/or share them with me on social media using the links in this page’s footer below and add the hashtags#ivorphoto and #ivorslessons and tag me @ivortog.

2 Comments

  1. Christine watson says:

    Thankyou Ivor. I do really need another refresher on the absolutely basics. I’ll keep trying . Looking forward other notifications xx christine

  2. […] Last time and in lesson one we looked at Depth of field; how much of the picture is in focus. We have seen how this is affected by the aperture and proximity to the subject.The final part (for now) about depth of field involved using a zoom lens. […]

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