Depth of Field

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Anna Wood, Years 9 and 10 Photography and Digital Media Teacher

Depth of field in a photo refers to the part of a photo that is in focus. If only a small part of the scene is in focus that is a shallow depth of field. If all of the scene within the frame is in focus it's called a deep depth of field. You can use depth of field to bring attention to your subject by using a shallow depth of field.

Three methods to change the depth of field are getting closer to the subject, moving the subject further away from the background and changing the aperture of the lens.

Getting closer to the subject will decrease the size of the depth of field and moving further away from the subject will increase the size of the depth of field.

When you alter the position of the subject in relation to the background that they are standing in front of you can change the depth of field. When taking a portrait shot if you move your model further away from the surface they are in front of, it will cause the background to be blurred and make the viewer focus on the model.

When you change the aperture (and the shutter speed) you can change the depth of field. Increasing the aperture (i.e. decreasing the f-stop) will decrease the size of the depth of field. Decreasing the aperture (i.e. increasing the f-stop) will increase the size of the depth of field.

If you only have a compact camera or the camera in your handphone you can still use some of these  ideas by using the modes that are available for different situations. These contain algorithms or automatic camera settings that will make the most of your machine. So use the portrait mode, landscape mode, macro mode in the right situations. The aperture priority mode if available on your device will also make the most of the depth of field options that you have.

The best advice no matter what type of camera you have is to practise so that you get to know your machine and can make the best of it in any situation.

Sandhaya Sritharan, Year 10

Rishishanger Krishnamurthi, Year 8

Anna Huggel, Year 6

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