Depth of Field (DoF) – The Basics

Depth of Field goes together with Aperture, as you should have seen in a previous blog post. The short definition of DoF is basically the range of distance that appears in focus.

 

SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD

If you are shooting a car and you set your aperture really low (let’s say f/1.8) then only the closest part of the car to you will be in focus, or whatever your focus point it, and everything in front and behind that focus point will be blurry.

 

Take this shot for example: (which was shot at f/1.8)

You can see how the taillights of the Evo are in focus and everything else that’s in line with the taillights (basically the whole booty), but everything around it is blurry. That’s because the focus point was somewhere on the rear end and since the aperture is so low, the depth of field is very shallow.

 

That yellow light right below the rear view mirror is what would be considered bokeh (pronounced boh-kay). Bokeh is essentially little circles of blur that are rendered by your lense when the object is far away from the focus point. To capture one of these you also have to be fairly close to your focus point.

 

WIDE DEPTH OF FIELD

The opposite of that would be a higher aperture (like f/10), which will keep basically everything in focus (depending on how far away the background is).

 

Let’s take this shot for example: (shot at f/10)

It’s pretty clear that everything is in focus (see what I did there?) I’m assuming the focus point is somewhere on the car but when you get into the higher apertures it starts to matter less where your focus point is, and more on what else is in the background.

 

If you have a not so good background then I don’t recommend shooting at higher apertures, you want the focus to be on the car. If the background looks nice, like this one, why not focus on everything, the car still sticks out and is still the main focus.

 

Shooting at higher apertures will get your sharper images, no doubt. But it’s not the only thing that will improve the sharpness of your shot. Matter of fact, there are 5 major ways to capture sharper images and they can all be adjusted for free, without spending any money on gear. To find out the other 4 check out the FREE GUIDE that I created to help you out!

 

TO SUM IT UP

The further away an object is from your focus point, the blurrier it will be. It creates a really cool effect because the blurriness is not instant; it’s more of a gradual blur. The closest thing will be in focus (your focus point) and then once the rest of the objects are further away they slowly become less and less clear.

 

There really isn’t much to it. The best way to figure it out is to go out and shoot at your lowest aperture (this depends on your lense) and then shoot at a higher aperture. You will instantly see a difference in the blurriness of the background.

 

YOUR SHOTS

Now I want you to go out, shoot, and come back here to share your shots. We can all learn from each other (including me) and this is the place to do it! Let’s see your shots!

 

Feature image credit: Simerjit Dhaliwal
f/1.8 image credit: Jacob Schlobohm
f/10 image credit: Leo Cerrillo

 

If you want your shot to be used in a future blog post just upload it to the new Flickr group.

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