2014 Challenge, Week 10: DEPTH OF FIELD

This week the challenge moves to a creative technique that can be used to make part of your image really stand out. Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears to be in focus. The depth of field can be very narrow, with only a small part of the photograph appearing in focus. It can also be very deep, with objects in the foreground and background appearing in focus.

Notice the shallow depth of field in this image. The hand is in focus, while the neck of the bass is out of focus.

“New Toys” by Graham Binns – Aperture f/1.8

In this example, the depth of field is very deep. The heads of grain in the foreground and the trees in the background are all in focus.

“Depth of field./Profundidad del campo.” by Simon Harrod – Aperture f/11

Now, the question is: How do I change the depth of field? It’s simple! Just change the aperture. The aperture is the opening in the lens that allows light through to the film or sensor. The size of the opening is given as a number, referred to as an f-stop. Each lens will have its own range of f-stops. For example, the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens has a range of f/2.8 – f/32, while the 50mm f/1.2 has a range of f/1.2 – f/16.

“Needle” by Dwayne Bent – Aperture: f/2.8

A larger lens opening will give you shallower depth of field. A smaller f-stop is actually a larger opening, so f/2.8 will be much shallower depth of field than f/11. Most cameras will have some way to control the aperture. Some cameras have an Aperture Priority mode that allows you to set the aperture directly. Some cameras have Scenes that will influence how the camera selects the aperture. If you are not sure about how to adjust the aperture on your camera, it might be time to dig out the manual or use Google. You can also ask a question on the PhotoChallenge Facebook or G+ pages.

“Pool” by John McStravick – Aperture f/5.6

Take some time to experiment with the aperture settings on your camera this week. Take the same shot with multiple aperture settings and see how it influences the photograph. Try to use depth of field to improve the composition and interest of your image this week.

“Spectacle” by Thomas Abbs


We all want to see your best shot! So, share your single submission with us all on at least one of our social media groups at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.

Now go have some fun!

If you want to read more about depth of field, here are some links to get you started:

“Depth-of-field Explained”

“Tutorials: Depth Of Field”

“Plumbing The Depths (Of Field)”

“A Tedious Explaination of Depth of Field”

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.