Depth of Field in Photography

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Duration: 9:10

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Depth of field in photography can be frustrating for many amateur shooters. In this video, professional photographer and instructor, Layne Kennedy, takes you to a tree-lined, urban park for some lessons in depth of field in photography.

To compose his images, Layne looks for the shapes and designs found in nature. “It’s often the contrast in light that draws me in,” he explains. Inside a forest under overcast skies, he recommends shifting your white balance settings from auto to shade for accurate colors. For contrast separation in the wide shot, he shoots four seconds at f22 in order to pull all the trees, foreground to background, into focus, relying on the cable release to avoid camera shake.

When he decides on a close-up of dew on a leaf, he changes to a macro lens and shifts his depth of field to f5.6. This technique brings the dew drops into sharp focus as the background quickly falls out of focus. The strategy of a wide-open, depth of field is to keep the viewer’s attention on your subject such as a water droplet on a leaf. You are working with sensitive highlights. Always check your monitor to make sure the highlights don’t get blown out. “With the proper exposure, the dew drops can look like gems glowing in the background,” Layne observes.

Layne tries shooting the leaf at f22 within the same camera setup, but he finds that a high f-stop will bring all the dew drops into focus, which can create visual chaos. When working with a macro lens, depth of field in photography is crucial in making a creative image. The wide-open f-stop usually works the best.

Join pro photographer, Layne Kennedy, in creating beautiful images through depth of field in photography. Also, check out our other landscape photography tips and continue to grow your talents.

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