Photography Lesson 3 – Depth of Field

Depth of Field Using f/Stops (Apertures)

The goal here is to learn how to apply depth of field to determine the range of focus in your photos. Shoot each image in pairs, one with shallow depth of field and one with greater depth of field. Begin by framing and focusing on your subject, getting as close as possible will help highlight the differences. Shoot the first frame at a large aperture such as f/2.8 using the appropriate shutter speed. Make a second exposure at a small aperture such as f/16 using the appropriate shutter speed. Remember to change your shutter speed proportionally when you change aperture (i.e. f/2.8 @ 1/500 gives shallow depth of field while f/8 @ 1/60 yields greater depth of field). Use your meter as a guide. Do not change focus between shots. You will show 3-5 pairs of photos to complete the assignment.

Helpful Tips for Achieving Shallow Depth of Field

  • Use your widest aperture. The wider the aperture, the less depth of field.
  • Get as close to your subject as you can. The closer you are the less depth of field.
  • Use a long focal length lens. The longer the lens, the less depth of field.
  • Create a foreground, middle ground and background. The further things are from your plane of focus the less depth of field.

Assignment Objectives
Depth of Field is one of the most difficult concepts in photography to understand. It is also one of the most important. This workshop will teach you what depth of field is and how to apply it to make more interesting photographs. Another step towards understanding “camera vision”. You’ll also know what all those tiny numbers on your camera actually mean!

5 pairs of images demonstrating both the visual and technical aspects of the assignment.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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