Depth of Field explained

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Depth of field is a technique in which you can blur parts of your photo or do the opposite and keep everything in focus. Beside the technical aspect, it is also a choice of taste and the message you want to send with your photo. I personally use the shallow depth of field within most of my photos and videos and really love the feel it gives. In this blog I will explain the theory and technique behind this effect and how you can apply it within your photography or videography projects.

Large depth of field

With a large depth of field you will basically have more or less everything in your photo in focus. From the objects close to your lens, all the way towards the back. You can create this with using a high aperture number. If you want to know more about the basic camera settings, please click here.

Narrow depth of field

The narrow depth of field is also called shallow depth of field. The focus is on one object in your photo and the space in front and behind are out of focus. You can create this by using a low aperture number on your camera.

The best camera settings to use

You can decide how much light will come into your lens by adjusting the aperture. If you use a high number, less light will come in, but the more will be sharp. When you use a low number, more light will come in and it will create a narrow depth of field. If you try this out with your camera, you will notice in some cases the image will either become over- or underexposed. This can be fixed using the other settings like shutter speed and ISO. If you want to read more about the camera settings, please click here

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Which lens is the best choice

To keep things simple, every lens will work. However, some lenses are better than others in creating a nice and smooth looking blurriness. With keeping in mind the high and low aperture numbers, you want to look for a lens that gives you these options.

For example, macro lenses often have very low aperture numbers like 1.8 or 2.5. These are amazing to create images with a narrow depth of field.

When to use this technique

With a large depth of field everything will be in focus. It gives the viewer much to look at and gives a good impression of what is happening. It’s a beautiful way to tell a story with just one image. This technique is most used within landscape and architecture photography.

With the narrow depth of field, you will isolate the object and let it stands on its own. The other elements in the photo won’t be a distraction and the main object will look sharper. It can give a feeling of loneliness, if you for example isolate a person from the surrounding. You can decide on how intense you want the effect to be shown, depending on the subject and story you want to tell. You will often see the narrow depth of field within portrait photography and macro photography.


I hope this helped you understand the function of this specific camera technique. If you want to check out my photos, please click here.

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