Depth of Field

July 16, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I had a question the other day about an awesome depth of field shot Tim had taken. "The focus was amazing! How does he do that?!" I think were the actual words. You see the thing is, our eyes get to pick what we focus on instant by instant but our camera's focus is fixed and some really great shots happen just because a pro can tell you just exactly where to look with his depth of field. Depth of field is controlled by aperture which means if you want to try it out, you have to get your camera out of the "auto mode." :/   So what is it?

A low depth of field is when there is only a very small sliver of the image in focus. Like this:

A high depth of field is when everything in the frame is in focus like this:

Now Tim is the KING of the depth of field shot. He can get the depth of field down to a tiny tiny tiny nothing of a little sliver of focus but WOW does it make the image.

You see the lines on the floor?  Our eyes adjust depth of field all the time but it is constant and very hard to make those focus adjustments stop. So when a artist can tell you exactly where to look without any distracting influence, all you can say is "wow."

Now how do you control it for yourself? You have to shoot in manual or aperture priority mode - so go get your camera user manual out. Then decide what depth of field you want. If you are shooting mountains or scenery on vacation, then you want a clear background, and that equals a high depth of field and a high aperture value. If you want to get rid of the background because it is messy or distracting then set your aperture as low as you can (this depends on your lens, the really expensive ones will go really low but you're gonna pay for it ;) Really, all you need to remember is big numbers mean big focus area, and smaller numbers mean smaller focus area. I encourage you to experiment with it. You can Google depth of field or aperture values, there are a lot of tutorials out there to help you learn all about it.

However, I must be frank in answering the question "How does he (Tim) do that?" He is really really good at what he does. Sometimes, I am just thankful I get to watch.

 

-Emily


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Emily - 254.217.2159

emily@timburkhalterphotography.com

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tim@timburkhalterphotography.com

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