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Here’s a question… what’s depth of field?

Depth of field (DOF) refers to how much of a picture is in sharp focus in front of, and beyond, the part of the picture you’ve focussed on. You can use it to guide your viewers eye to where you want them to look.

The three main factors to bear in mind are

  1. The amount of light entering the lens (measured in f stops on your lens). For example f2.8 is a wide aperture so more light comes through the lens giving less depth of field, whereas f16 is a small aperture so less light comes through the lens giving more depth of field (try looking at something  that’s slightly out of focus and then squint, it’s the same principle)
  2. The shorter the focal length of a lens the more the depth of field at the same aperture. For example a 24mm lens at f8 will have a greater depth of field than a 300mm lens at f8
  3. The further the subject is from the background the more out of focus the background will be

Have a look at pictures 1 to 3 (you’ll see the differences more clearly on your monitor than your phone).

You can also use a shallow depth of field to create depth to a picture (No. 4) by throwing the foreground and background out of focus.     

If you’d like any help with this or any other aspect of photography I’m currently offering free thirty minute Zoom calls as we’re in lockdown. You can contact me here


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