Make Your Own Depth Of Field

Make Your Own Depth Of Field


Yes, we’ve had a preview of Spring lately. But I saw snow yesterday so some studio work may still be in order. This is a quick tip to make your own depth of field. Stopping your lens down to f16 or f22 is great for getting a lot of depth of field. Of course like most things in life good things come at a cost. Diffraction (or a softening of your image ) may be the result of stopping down your lens to it’s smaller/est openings. A work around may be to take multiple images at various focus points and stack them up in Photoshop to create a sharp image throughout.


However, lately I’ve been intrigued by narrow (or shallow….) depth of field. It helps me in my images to ‘direct’ the viewer to what I really want them to see. Hopefully, the other information in the image helps to set the story. So, the images here illustrate a rose placed in front of other roses about 10in behind the one rose. The exposure in this image is f9, ISO200 and 1/200 sec using two studio flashes on the sides of the rose. The main light is on the left with the fill on the right. The key here is that my ‘target’ rose is about 10in in front of the others. This is what helps to create a narrow depth of field look. This can be done with Speedlights and even window light!


Photographers should always control the depth of field in their images where possible be it wide or narrow.  In fact that’s one of the reasons you’ll hear most photographers use their camera on Aperture priority.  If you’re not using ‘A’ today you might want to consider it.

Here’s an image showing the studio setup I used this afternoon to make the rose image. Notice the single rose set away from the rest. You can do this with many subjects.

This ‘look’ can also be achieved in the field on other subjects as well by getting close to your main subject creating a shallow depth of field to make your main subject stand out within the image.  I was right next to that water drop with my zoom lens and took the photo at f8.  I used the Depth-Of-Field Preview button on my camera to stop down the lens to see what my image would look like before taking the photo. Check out how narrow that depth of field is.  Get close!

So, think about what you want your depth of field to be before making your image.  Planning your image before hand will help you to make a stronger image where you ‘direct’ the viewer into the scene by limiting what’s in focus and what isn’t.  The human eye will always prefer something that’s sharp so take advantage of that!

Bob               Get The Shot!



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