Improve your photos with depth of field settings.

Improve your photos with depth of field settings.

Featured image: Shallow depth of field.


Photography is certainly not just about pointing your camera at a nice scene and clicking, it’s about so much more than that, including quite a lot of technical jargon that takes a lot of time to understand completely.


As a beginner, whether you are a photographer in Cork, UK; Chilliwack, Canada; Sumas, USA; or any location in the world, it’s important to learn more about the technical specifics – and really take your time to learn.


You will be faced with many terms and settings that you need to master, but one extremely important area is depth of field.


Often referred to in manuals and online simply as DoF, depth of field is a basic concept, but one which is the ‘make or break’ between a good photograph, and a fantastic one.


First things first …


What is depth of field?


To really understand this concept, and to be able to control it in your own photography, we need to explain it in more detail.

Depth of field is a setting on your camera which allows you to isolate a particular item or object in your shot; for instance, this could be a daisy in a field of other flowers, or a shell on a beach. You basically want to focus your shot on that one item.

Shallow depth of field is often used for this, and is popular in wildlife photography and in macro photos too.

To give you a visual idea, the background of the item, and everything around it, is blurred away, or not as sharp.


Long depth of field.

Long depth of field.


Now, a further depth of field, ‘longer’ to give it its often referred to name, means that most of your shot will be in frame and therefore in focus.

This type of depth of field measurement is often seen in landscape photographs, or perhaps when photographing architecture, when you want to see the whole object and its immediate surroundings.


Using depth of field settings.


You need to set your camera either to A (aperture) or M (manual) at a certain point.

This point is when you have a certain item in your shot, and it is in perfect focus – the area in front of it is shallow compared to the area behind it – that is the point where you need to apply your settings.

From here, you can experiment to your heart’s content!

Of course, there are certain other settings and issues which have a say in the depth of field and how the shot looks, including:

  • Lens aperture;
  • Lens focal length;
  • Shutter speed;
  • Angle view;
  • ISO; and
  • Sensor size ;

You may need to play around with these settings in order to really focus in and get the perfect shot of the image you’re trying to capture.

What do you do if your camera isn’t all singing, all dancing, and doesn’t have advanced features such as these?

This doesn’t mean you can’t still experiment and play around with depth of field settings, because if you look at your manual setting, there may be a group setting you can utilise.

This basically means that the portrait setting will give you that shallow depth of field we were talking about, and the landscape setting will give you an increased depth. It’s really about experimenting, so check out these particular settings on your camera.

Finding that perfect shot is about so much more than luck or simply pressing ‘capture’, it’s about timing, settings, perseverance, patience, and it’s about practice.

When you purchase a camera, even if you’re quite familiar with the brand, it’s important to practice with the settings and play around to find the best choices for your shooting style, as well as what it is you’re photographing.

As we mentioned at the start of this article, certain types of photography are ideal for a shallower depth of field, whilst others are better suited to a longer depth of field.

Check out what works for you and your photographic endeavours.


F. Aldea is definitely an Online Advertising professional and article writer who likes to research the most recent trends in business, technology and marketing communications and writes about a range of articles.

Published by Christine Blythe

Christine is the owner and author for her three blogs: Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest, and Top Web Blog Tips. Periodically, if a post topic is appropriate to either of her other blogs, they will be published as a guest post by CJB.