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What is the Depth of Field in Photography?

What is the Depth of Field in Photography?

Have you heard about depth of field or DoF? If you are a beginner with a passion for photography, then you should learn how depth of field can enhance the quality of your photographs. It can transform your simple photo into a superbly artistic one.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

DoF is one of the key elements in photography. Knowing this concept and all the factors that affect it is a must for every photographer. To learn all about DoF, keep reading below and find out everything there is to know about it.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

Knowing about the Depth of Field

So what is the Depth of Field in photography? Basically, depth of field (DoF) refers to the distance between the subjects that is in focus in a photo. Simply put, it is the area of acceptable sharpness that appears in the picture’s focus. You may have noticed that all photos have a specific zone in front and at the back of the object that appears in focus.

To better understand acceptable sharpness, you need to understand that the camera can only have a single focus in each shot. You will notice that there is a slow transition from the sharp to the unsharp focus of your camera, and we call that "acceptably sharp." The size of your object and how the image is viewed are some of the factors that affect the acceptable sharpness.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

Factors that contribute to the DoF

Let us now take a closer look at each of the factors that contribute to the depth of field in your photos:

  1. Aperture- The first factor that significantly affects the depth of field is the aperture of your camera. By using the aperture, you can control the DoF when setting up the shot. As a quick reminder, the aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera lens and hits the camera sensor. 

To understand how the aperture controls the depth of the field, remember this: The higher the camera’s f-number is, the bigger the shot’s DoF (deeper depth of field) is; while the lower its f-number is, the smaller the image’s DoF (shallow depth of field) is.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

  1. Focal length- This refers to the ability of the lens to enlarge the image of the subject, even if it is far away. If the focal length is set longer (ex. 200mm or 600mm), then you can get a shallower depth of field. On the other hand, the shorter the focal length (ex. 50mm or 16mm), the deeper the depth of field.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

     3. Distance- The distance between the camera and the subject will affect DoF. If the subject is far away, you will get a deeper depth of field. On the other hand, if the subject is closer, the depth of field is shallower.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

How it can improve images

A great skill that every photographer should have is the proper manipulation of depth of field. You cannot achieve the perfect shot if you are not able to come up with sharp images. Skilled use of DoF allows you to bring attention to your subject by putting it in focus while making all other parts of the scene out of focus. 

A deep depth of field is best used when you want to include as much of the scene as possible, such as in landscape photography. To achieve this, you have to use a small aperture (high f-number) with a wide-angle lens.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

On the other hand, a shallow depth of field works best for portrait photography, HDR Photography, wildlife photography, time-lapse photography, sports photography, or any kind of photography where you  want the subject to stand out from the background. To achieve such DoF, you need a large aperture (low f-number) to capture more light.

What is the Depth of Field in Photography

Determining and controlling the DoF

To help you determine the depth of field of your shots, you can check out the Internet for sites that offer DoF charts for lenses and cameras. If you have the MIOPS Mobile App on your smartphone, then you can also use it to calculate the DoF while you are in the location.

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