Photo Tip — Working with Depth of Field

Depth of field is a very important concept in photography.

 (Gordon Ross)

Depth of field is the region in front of the camera that is sharp or in focus. The size of the aperture (the hole through which the light passes) determines the depth in front of the camera that is in focus (sharp). A large aperture (large opening) has a shallow depth of focus, while a smaller aperture (small opening) has a greater depth of focus.

So why does this matter?  Well, there are many creative things that you can do with this concept.

In this particular shot, a shallow depth of field has been used to draw your eye to the subject, the boy. If I had used a smaller aperture, allowing the yurt to be in focus, your eyes would be jumping back and forth wondering where to rest. By intentionally allowing the focus to fall on the boy, the shot has become a portrait of the boy.

Note that the location of the boy is still identifiable even though the yurt is not in focus. So now we have a portrait, and we also have a feel for where he lives.

Once you start to play with depth of field you’ll quickly see its creative power, and my guess is that you’ll be hooked for life. Photography is like that. Careful.

If you have any questions about this shot, feel free to post and I’ll get back to you.

Gordon Ross

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