Project 52 – Depth of Field

Sep 27, 2013

This week’s theme was depth of field. Basically, depth of field is how much of the photo is in focus. A shallow depth of field means less is in focus. Here are two photos of Lily. The first was shot with the most shallow depth of field I have with my 50mm at f/1.4. The second photo was shot with the same lens and the aperture set at f/11.  It pains me to look at the second photo because it just not my style at all.  At least not for my typical portrait shots.  Now if I was outside and had a great skyline photo, I would use a wider depth of field as the background adds some meaning to the photo.  But for my close up portrait shots, I love a shallow depth of field to keep the subject the main focus.  Also, the wider your depth of field, the less light your camera is taking in and you need a slower shutter speed.  So for moving subjects that also presents a challenge.   One thing I am working on, is increasing my depth of field for group shots.  It’s like I think my camera will self-destruct if I go wider than f/3.5. LOL  But if all subjects are not lined up perfectly, some will be out of focus.  So I’m forcing myself out of my usual comfort zone for group shots which really means, I’m learning the limitations of a shallow depth of field and finally accepting that I can’t do that all the time. LOL
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In the second photo the first thing you notice is that background is much more visible and you can see the detail in the bed cover.  But also compare Lily’s nose and eyes and ears with the first photo.  The focus goes right to the eyes in the first photo, most specifically the right eye.  The depth of field is so shallow that Lily’s left eye is slightly out of focus (I did sharpen it a bit in post processing).  Her nose and ears are also softer and blurred.  I don’t mind that you can see more of the details of Lily’s oh-so-cute face in the second photo, but it would work better if the background was further away and faded naturally without the need for that extremely wide depth of field.

I hope this was a helpful explanation for those of you starting out shooting and for those of you just interested in the decision making process of how I shoot and why!  Bottom line…no matter what the depth of field…Lily is ridiculously cute!  And she knows it!web-0268

Next up in the blog circle is Denver Pet Photographer, StinkDog Photos. Click through the links until you end up back here!