Understanding Depth Of Field | DENIS L. | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Understanding Depth Of Field

teacher avatar DENIS L., Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What Is Depth Of Field

    • 3. How Aperture affects DOF

    • 4. Focal Length And DOF

    • 5. How Does Aperture And Distance Control DOF

    • 6. Distance Camera To Subject

    • 7. Focal Length

    • 8. Focal Point

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

What is Depth Of Field

The distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that give an image judged to be in focus in a camera. Its not just about F-stops.

One of the key elements of aperture is depth of field. All variables in photography have a give and take, and with your aperture as we gain light we also lose depth of field. But aperture is not the only variable that affects depth of field, so we will take a look at those other variables.

This is a must lesson for anyone truly interested in becoming better photographers.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image




Websites: https://denis-lemay.pixels.com

Denis G Lemay was brought up in a little coastal town of Biddeford Maine, served in Vietnam in 1968 in the army corps of engineer, then in 1971 went to school in NY to persue the field of professional photography, and relocated to a little Dutch town of Kutztown Pennsylvania where he owned and operated Rembrandt Studios in two different locations. In 1998 Denis relocated to Wilmington North Carolina where he now owns and operates Ocean View Photography located near Wrightsville Beach NC. 

Websites: https://denis-lemay.pixels.com

Past affiliations are PPA, WPPI, IPPG, OPHF, and CFCC. Exhibited at KU, WPPI, OPHF,NYIP. 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. I'm Dennis LeMay in this tutorial, we're going to talk about depth of field. You need to understand depth of field in photography. If you haven't heard the terminology before, this is your chance to learn. Every photographer needs to know and understand how depth of field works on my advice is that you go through every segment in this tutorial to get a better understanding of depth of field, we're going to cover about seven videos and our first video. We will explain to you what is that feel and why it's important in photography. And then we're gonna look at how f stops or aperture controls depth to feel, and then how distance from camera to subject controls, depth to feel, and then how focal left controls depth of field. We're even going to cover focal plane where which is where your critical focuses and then the last three tutorials we're going to cover a variety of tests that I've made, which will show you how deep the field works. In all of these variables, the first tutorial will be on F stops and focal laugh, and how different F stops affected the test shots and then the distance and then focal point. So please watch all videos and we'll see you in the next segment. 2. What Is Depth Of Field: welcome back. One is depth to feel. And why is it important when you focus your camera on this subject, your camera will establish what we call a plane of focus or critical focus. Basically, an imaginary plane is set, and things on that plane are in focus. But there's still an area around that plane, which is in acceptable focus. And as you increase your aperture number or make the the opening smaller, the invisible area in front and behind the plane of Focus will get larger every time you move up in your aperture setting, that area of focus in front and behind the plane of Focus gets deeper as to include mawr in that area. That's called depth of field. Let's take a look at this. If you look at the bottom image, you have your camera here and you have your subject. This black box. When you focus on this subject, this is your critical focus or plain of focus, and around that plane of focus or the subject, you have acceptable focus. How much you have in acceptable focus will depend on the certain variables. One of those variables is F stop or aperture. If you look at this bottom image, let's say this was taking at 5.6. You can see between the two red lines. You have your plane of focus and then you have your acceptable focus between the two red lines. This is called depth to feel. If you close down to F eight, you have more depth of field between the red lines. And then, if you close down again to have 16 you have more than to feel, in other words, more in focus in front and behind your subject. Now, why is that important? When you are shooting, Step two feel can play a large factor in how your image will be rendered and can change the meaning and intention of the image. You can choose to selectively isolate your subject from its background by having a narrow depth of field. Another was a little bit of focus in front and behind, or you can selectively. Alternately, you can make sure that everything from front and back to infinity will be in focus, ensuring that you have a shop image throughout. In our next segment, we're going to show you how aperture affects depth to feel seeing next segment 3. How Aperture affects DOF: Welcome back, everyone in this segment, we're gonna look at how f stops and focal length affect depth of field. I'm gonna show you 14 images and we're going to change. Our were focal length four times with the first set of images at 16 millimeter. All right, let's take a look at the 1st 4 images before I start. What I did is I constructed five or six posters and 0 to 5 is 50 feet apart. And each number from 0 to 5 are 10 feet apart. Another was zero toe. One is 10 feet, zero TEUs, 20 then 30 40 and 50 for the 1st 4 images. I have the cameras sitting on a tripod and measured the camera five feet from number zero, focusing on number zero. That's going to be my focal plane for these four images. Number zero, the focal length of the lens right now is that 16 millimeter? Okay, so the first image this image was taken at 2.8 f stop. So now if I zoom in on these numbers, don't forget, I'm focused on 00 is sharp, but one through five and beyond is out of focus, so There's really very little debt to feel. Maybe about a 42 around this number. Zero second image was taken at F eight, again focusing on 05 feet away. If I zoom in on 1 to 5, they're all in focus. So we have about 50 feet of left field, just from 2.8 28 with a 16 millimeter lance. Now the fences still varies quite soft, and the building is soft, but we have at least 50 feet of feet up the field. Next image was taken at 11 again. If I move, zoom in. Not a whole lot different, but the fences a little sharper along with the building. So you have zero to almost infinity in focus as dept. To feel and in front as well. Next, last one was taking the 16. Not much difference there. You still have zero to infinity in depth to feel even before zero. Okay, so now we switched. We zoomed in at 35 millimeter. Same position cameras fi fi from number zero. The focusing point is right on number zero. First image was taken a 2.8, and you could see by movie and closer we're way out of focus in the background. There's hardly any that to feel that all my debt, the field is right here. Second image F eight numbers are a little sharper, but if you remember, a 16 millimeter numbers were quite sharp. So if I zoom in a number one here, you can see how the focus they are. And then the last exposure was 16 f stop and again, the depth of field is a little better. Number one is almost acceptably sharp, along with number two, but beyond that were soft. So there's very are adept of field, as diminished as we, um, zoomed in at 35 millimeter. So let's go to our next image at 105 millimeter now, at 105 millimeter, I had to move the camera back to 15 feet from number zero, focusing on number zero. That's my focal plane right here. First image was taken at 5.6, and you can see how out of focus they are, more so than the two point a. I mean the 35 millimeter focal length and the 16 millimeter focal. Our second image was taken at F eight and you could see the numbers are a little shopper, but still way out of focus. Still, not much step to feel. And then 16 F 16 numbers are a little sharper. Number one and number one looks like it's almost acceptable, but not quite. If you zoom in, you can see pretty much how our focus it is so depth of field is probably about six feet with a 105 millimeter lance. Now, if you remember, with 16 millimeter lands at F eight, we had quite a bit in focus. And then, at 35 it was softer and then at 105 still softer yet and we even moved back to 15 feet. Our next image where said 200 millimeter and again I had to move the camera back to 34 feet from number zero, focusing again on number zero, and I'm at 5.6 f. Stop. You can see there's hardly any depth at all. Everything's out of focus behind number zero, and then it F 11 numbers are little shopper, but still pretty much out of focus. 16 Even at 16 numbers behind number zero are our focus. And then at 32. At 32 everything's a little sharper. We have a little more depth to feel, but we're still a bit soft. Behind number zero. Number one might be about what you consider acceptably in focus, so we have about 8 to 10 feet a depth of field. Um, if you want to get critical in the next segment, we're going to talk about how distance from camera to subject effects stuck to feel. So let's, uh, we'll see you next room. 4. Focal Length And DOF: Welcome back. How does the focal length of the lens control depth of field or it doesn't? This has been somewhat of discussion and forums online, and, uh, this is something you're gonna have to draw your own conclusion on. But I'm gonna see if I can't explain a little bit about this. My opinion on this one of the most unsettled fax and photography is if focal length effects depth to feel different, textbooks will tell you different things. Focal left refers toothy capability of the lens to magnify the image of a distance subject . And this could get somewhat complicated, even though your debt to feel in actual terms will be relatively the same at 24 millimeter as with an 80 millimeter and again as 200 million, the image will appear to be more out of focus when you zoom in. The reason for this is caused by what we call distance compression or perspective compression. As we walked back and zoom in, keeping our subject the same size within the frame, the background has been brought closer. If you look at this image, I downloaded this image from online. I thought this was a pretty good example, the three images were taken with two different lenses. One was a 24 to 70 millimeter and the other one was a 70 t 72 200 millimeters. The image on the far left was taken with a 200 millimeter at F four, where the image in the middle was taken with a 70 millimeter at F four and then the image on the far right 24 millimeter at F four. If you look at the one on the left unity background looks a lot more out of focused in the one in the center and on the right. It appears that way. But in the same token, if you look at this image, you're actually looking a very small part of the background on the image on the left. In fact, if you look at the flowers here, you'll see those flowers are right here and in that blue section, right in here blue section here. So, in actuality, this background was brought in a lot closer to the subject, which makes it appear more out of focus. It's the same thing with this one in the middle. You see the flowers down here. Same thing here, blue section, right in here. And then here were much further away. Taken with a 24 millimeters. Let's look out. Let's look at another example. Here we have two images. The one on the left was taken with 100,000,080 millimeter lens white open or zoomed in a 180 millimeter, and the one on the right was taken at 23 millimeter White Open. But we kept the image the subject matter of the same size by moving back or forward with the camera. The image on the left appears to be a lot more out of focused on the image on the right. But are they? Let's take a look at this one on the right. If you zoom in, look what happens. Look at that background. It's a lot more out of focus than it appears when you're looking at it from a distance. So in actuality, this background is almost as much out of focus as this background. The only difference is this one is further away. It's like looking at a billboard. If you look at it from a distance, it looks very shocked, but if you move right on top of it. Then you you see just how, um, on sharp it is, So you'll have to make your own experiment on, um, draw your own conclusion on this. Okay. Our next segment. We're going to look at some tests that I made. And I think these tests are going to help you understand how depth of field works. See you next time. 5. How Does Aperture And Distance Control DOF: Welcome back. How does aperture and distance control depth feel? We know that the aperture refers to the access given toe light from the lands to the cameras. Sensors. Now there was a diameter of the hole through which light enters the camera controls the amount of light entering your let's, and using the aperture or F stop of your lands is the simplest way to control your depth to feel as you set up your shop, the larger the F stop or the large aperture. No, there was small. F Number gives you a shallow depth of field where small aperture or larger F number gives you deeper depth to feel. It might be easier to remember this simple concept. The lower your F number, the smaller your depth to feel likewise. The higher your F number, the larger your depth to feel. Let's take a look at something here. Okay, here. This image was photographed at F four, where the same image was photographed at 22 you can see where F four gave you very small depth of field, very shallow depth of field. The only thing in focuses isn't part of the image where F 22 gives you a lot more depth to feel just about everything behind it is in focus. Okay, How about distance? The closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower your depth of field becomes. Therefore, moving further away from your subject will deepen your adept to feel. Let's take a look at that here. The camera was further away from the subject matter and you can see all the flowers are in focus. We're here. We moved in close to one flower and you can see in the background everything is blurred out of focus. So you have more depth of field here and less depth of field here just by moving your camera forward or backward. So what did that tell you? That tells you that the two key factors in determining or controlling depth of field is F stop and distance from camera to subject. In the next segment, we're gonna talk about focal length 6. Distance Camera To Subject: Welcome back in this segment, we're going to look at distance between camera and subject. Now, there was what happens when you moved the camera closer to the subject with the same F stop . We're gonna look at seven images. The 1st 3 images were taken at 200 millimeter focal length, and the F stop is set at 5.6. So let's take a look at that. This first image was taken, by the way. We're all focused on number zero in these three images, but I want you to pay attention to that. What happens to the numbers behind number zero? Don't forget, we're focused on zero and we want to see what happens to the numbers behind zero by moving and closer with the camera this first session. I mean, this first image was taken at 34 feet from camera to number zero, and you can see the, uh, background is pretty much out of focus. The numbers are not too focused. Number one and two is probably the shop is out of, Ah, the five numbers behind zero. So there's really no much step to feel that all there the second image was taken at 14 feet . So let's take a look at that. Now you can see what happens. The numbers in the back, they're even more out of focus than they were previously. And then our third image was taken a eight feet wash. Numbers in the back. You can hardly read, um, their way out of focus. This is an eight feet, 14 feet, 34 feet. So every time we move in closer, we get more and more are the focus in the background, even though we really don't have much step to feel at all. All right, let's go to our next image. The next four images were also taken with same focal length, which is 16 millimeter. So we went from telephoto toe white angle, and we're now one foot from number zero on all four of these images. I want you to see what happens when you move in that close, even with a 16 millimeter, which should give you better dept. To feel as you move as you increase your if, stop or decrease your absa, make it larger numbers. Smaller aperture. This first image was taken at 2.8 and a 2.8 you can see all the numbers and background. There is no depth of field. Everything's out of focus. Now. Let's see what happens when we move from 2.8 2 16 Big difference. All right, let's do May 9. You can see the numbers are still out of focus, even though they looked like they were in acceptable focus. When you zoom out, let's look a 22 and let's zoom in on that. The numbers are still somewhat out of focus, their little shopper, but they're still pretty much Ida focus at normal view. They look sharp, but they are out of focus, all right, don't forget we're focused on number zero. Let's see what happens if we focus on number three and step. So our next image again F 22. We focus on number three and look at the difference. Let's zoom in on that. We didn't move the camera. Everything else is the same. Now we have less of death to feel even Zero is just slightly served, but pretty much in acceptable focus. So we have a lot of depth field just by focusing on number three. Okay. In our next segment, we're going to look at focal length. See you next 7. Focal Length: Welcome back, everyone in this segment, we're gonna look at focal left and how focal length can affect depth of field. A little while ago, we talked about Focal dance a little bit, but we talked about photographing a subject with same composition the same size in camera, by moving the camera in and out with three or four different focal lengths. And we found that with the wide angle focal leads all the way up to the telephoto focal length. The background was just out of focus in each image, even though it doesn't look that way when you're looking at the images. Normally, in this case, we're not moving camera at all. All we're doing is zooming in on this subject, which is a little different than what we talked before. So let's look at this first image was taking a 24 millimeter, and if we focus on these numbers, you'll see that all numbers are incomplete. Focus. We have plenty of depth of field. Remember now 0 to 5 is 50 feet a point at 10 foot increments with each number. Our second image was taken over, by the way. Oh, you need to know that I'm focusing on number zero. I am 15 feet from camera to number zero and I'm shooting a 5.6 f stop. And again, if you look, everything's in focus. Our next image was taken at 35 millimeter and ah, say taking the same way. If you look at what the numbers number one is almost acceptable focus and then the rest is going out of focus. So our depth of field is diminished. Some and then the next image was taken at 50 millimeter and you can see the numbers are much more out of focus then previously and then lastly, taken at 95 millimeter and again numbers away out of focus, almost unreadable. So you can see the difference between 95 24 35 50 and then 95 again. You know, next segment we're gonna look at, which is our final segment. We're going to look at focal point, which is also important, and we'll show you how focal point will change your depth of field. See you next segment 8. Focal Point: welcome to our last segment, which is our in focal point regarding depth of field. Basically, what we're talking about now is where you focus your camera, where your critical focus is and what happens when you change your critical focus to a different point within an image. In the past, when we shot field cameras, they used to tell us we should focus, particularly when we're shooting a landscape or something with a lot of foreground and background, about 1/3 into the image and to try and shoot that your sweet point within the lands, which is usually 11 16 to get everything in focus. But let's take a look at this now. This first image was taken. Um, actually, the 1st 3 images is taken with a 200 millimeter lens or focal length, and we're now 34 feet from number zero. All three images air taken it F four. The first image was focused on number zero, and you can see we really have no doubt. To feel one through five is pretty much way out of focus. Then, on our second image, we focused on number three. Now you can see three and four in pretty good focus and then five is starting to get soft and to Zins is starting to get stuffed. So we we now have with first image. We had no depth to feel. We just had one image and focused. That was our dipped a few. But on this image we have about 10 10 or 12 feet in depth to feel, and then our third image was focused on number five. Now you can see 012 and three are out of focus and four and five and is well four is almost in focus. It's slightly out of focus, but five and beyond is an acceptable focus, so you can see what happens when you're focusing at different points throughout the image. This is number five, focused in on number three and then focus on number zero. All right, let's look at a 17 millimeter lens. We're still 34 feet away, same distance and ah, 70 millimeter focal length, and we're now at 5.6 f. Stop our first images. Focus on number zero. If you zoom in, Number one is pretty much an acceptable focus, and two is almost unacceptable. Focus. But 34 and five are out of focus. So next image we've focused on number two. Now zero is out of focus. Number one is in focus. 234 and five are in focus. And then we focused on number three. And if we zoom in, zero is out of focus. One is still pretty much in focus, just a little bit starved. And then to and beyond is probably even Infinity is in focus. So what did we learn here? We learned that where you focus will make a difference as to where you dip, the field falls with throughout the image and the further back you focus into, the more you ducked a field, you're gonna have a swell because you're actually moved. By doing that, you're further away from your subject where if you focus on zero, you're closer to your subject. Another was to where you're focusing. And of course, the 70 millimeters to 200 millimeter makes a difference as well. So there you are. I hope you learned something throughout this entire tutorial. And, um, I hope you go out there and make your own tests. This is the way you're going to learn This is how you're gonna learn how your your F stops and your focal less and your distance from camera to search reacts to depth to feel or affects Dick Field. So go out there and shoot an experiment. Thank you for listening.