You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default     Back to List

How to Add Depth of Field to Your Photos

December 06 2012

We spotted the following article and video tutorial on the VScreen blog. It teaches readers how to use the F-Stop on their DSLR camera to create depth of field in their photos and videos.

Why is depth of field important, you ask? Good question. Depth of field allows your camera see the way the human eye does--with your subject in focus and the background softly unfocused. Think of all the amateur snapshots you've seen where the subject blends into a busy background! Using depth of field instantly creates more professional looking photos. See below to learn more:

Previously, we gave you a brief rundown of how to crush that depth of field. Now, let's focus on one of those elements:

The F-stop.

On a lens, the F-stop number affects the size of the lens' aperture by controlling the iris.

Here's a simpler explanation:

Imagine your eye is the lens and the pupil is the aperture, or size of the opening letting light into your eye. Your iris changes size in different situations to make sure your retinas don't get fried from too much sunlight. On your eye, the iris controls itself automatically, but on a camera it's controlled on a scale of numbers called the F-Stop scale. And it's very important to understand how the scale works in order to keep control over your image.

So let's take a look at it, shall we?

The scale starts at one and can go all the way up to 32 on a normal scale, with the amount of light decreasing as the number rises. So an f/2.4 will let in more light than an f/11. Smaller numbers equals more light, which you know from our last depth of field video equals shallower depth of field.

You may think the numbers on this scale are arbitrary, but they actually represent the ratio between the size of the aperture, and the focal length of the lens, which is the distance from the aperture to the film plane where the image is captured.

Using a DSLR to shoot gives you a lot of simple options for maximizing your aperture so you keep that depth of field nice and slim. First, put the camera on Manual. Putting the camera to manual lets you first control the f-stop, which for now we'll assume you want as wide open as the lens will allow, letting in as much light as possible. From here, DSLRs have a handy dandy feature that let's you select what ISO or sensitivity you want to shoot at.

Pay attention, this can get tricky.

While the lower the f-stop the more light you get, the HIGHER the ISO the more light you get. So with the f-stop all the way open, you'll likely need to lower the ISO to keep your shots from being blown out. It's a simple process, but it will take some tweaking.

For the newbies out there, most DSLRs have what's called Aperture Priority Mode. This allows the camera to make changes to your settings automatically, but tells it to ignore the aperture. So if you want an aperture of 2.4, your camera will adjust the other settings such as ISO and shutter speed in order to achieve proper exposure.

That was a lot of information, but once you process all of that mess you'll have a better understanding of f-stop, aperture, and iris, and ultimately will achieve ultimate control over your image.

To view the original article, visit the VScreen blogVScreen blog.