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What is Depth of Field?

By Michelle Ecker on July 16, 2020

What is Depth of Field?

Depth of field is one of the most commonly referenced concepts in the world of photography- but what, exactly, is it?? 

What is Depth of Field? 

  1. Depth of field refers to the distance between the closest and farthest object in a photo that you take. 
  2. For example, if I take a low-angle photo of my backyard and the closest object in the frame is a blade of grass, and the furthest away object we can see in the frame is a tree far off in a neighboring yard, depth of field refers to the space between that close up blade of grass and that far away tree. 
  3. The best way to control depth of field is by adjusting the aperture settings on your camera. 

How to Adjust Your Depth of Field 

Without post processing, your camera can only keep one object or point in a given image sharply in focus. However, as you can picture, when we keep one object in the foreground sharply in focus compared to a more blurred, less discernible object in the background, the transition from sharp to blurry is generally gradual, becoming more blurry as you move further between points A and B in your composition. 

When you want to make changes and adjust the appearance and gradual growth of blurriness in the image you are composing, you need to make adjustments to your aperture settings in order to do so. 

The basic rule of thumb is that a large aperture (which means a smaller f-stop number on your camera setting), produces a more shallow depth of field. On the other hand, a smaller aperture (which means a larger f-stop number on your camera setting) will help you take a photo with a large depth of field. By making adjustments to these settings, you will be able to clearly see the depth of field and corresponding blurriness between foreground and background objects changing before your eyes. 

Learn More Photography Techniques

If practicing techniques and more in-depth camera adjustments is something that interests you, you should consider taking an online photography course at NYIP to help sharpen your skills. NYIP offers self-paced, online photography courses you can take from home. You will read lessons, watch tutorial videos, complete projects, and submit them to be graded by real photographers who provide you feedback (and are available by phone or email) to help you grow. If this sounds like something you want to try, enroll here or call 1 800-583-1736 for help enrolling over the phone.