Depth of Field

Depth of field refers to what is in AND out of focus. A shallow depth of field has just a small element of the photo in focus and the rest of it is blurred to a certain degree.  A photo with great depth of field has mostly everything in focus.

The tiny point and shoot cameras generally have great depth of field due to small sensor sizes.

Thus, most photos you take using these kinds of cameras have just about everything in the picture in total focus.

For those serious about playing around with depth of field, generally step up and buy a dSLR to have far more advanced & specific control over this aspect.  However, even for those with only a point and shoot there are ways you can have more control over depth of field.

By selecting portrait orientation mode or putting your camera into macro mode you’ll automatically be selecting your cameras widest aperture allowing you to get more of these creative shots with a ‘specific’ subject in sharp focus and a background that is out of focus for great portraits or creative shots.  However, if you get to the point where you really want to be in control of DOF it’s time to step up and purchase a dSLR.

One of the most affordable and best lenses for manipulating depth of field is a prime 50 mm f/1.8.  The lenses cost roughly $100 for basically all camera manufactures and are a great addition to your lens kit.  One can use this kind of lens as a walk around lens at night, while in a museum that has poor lighting or just for general shots of people posing for portraits.

One of the best subjects to play around with when testing depth of field are murals or graffiti on walls.  Try getting up close, changing your f stop and using creative angles for various types of select focus and depth of field.  It’s a fun exercise that will allow you to shoot like a pro in no time!

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