When I’m out shooting and whether I’m by myself or running my photo workshops/tours, it’s always important to look at not only the different angles that one can shoot, but also to look at the depth of field.How much of the picture do I want in focus. Do I limit the depth of field so it becomes very shallow or do I have a greater depth of field in the picture. By limiting your depth of field you are highlighting just the subject. It will be sharp (providing you have focused correctly) and your background will be blurred.Your eyes are drawn to just the subject and there are no distractions. This has many advantages to it and it’s good at times to mix this effect into your picture taking as it gives a point of showing that your pictures don’t look the same. Having a greater depth of field shows in more detail the surrounding scene where the foreground and background are in focus. So which is better?
Never forget photography is very subjective, what one person thinks is a great picture , another will think, “ what’s the fuss about?” What one thinks is a great effect by using a shallow depth of field another will prefer more detail being shown in the shot. One is not more right than the other. It’s just want your personal preference is.That’s why even judging of pictures by photographic judges in my opinion is also very subjective and at times can be seen as complete nonsense by what the judges state.( that’s another story)
So when you are out shooting, don’t be scared to play around with your depth of field and give a different outlook in your pictures.
You will find that there are some subjects that it will work better with compared with others. Unless you try, you will never know. Be adventurous in your picture taking,try new things and look beyond the normal, well look beyond your own comfort zone and you’ll be surprised with what you discover.
Both set of these pictures were taken on f2.8 and f22. Camera was on a tripod. For those in the beginning of their photography, setting your camera on f2.8 with give you a shallow depth of field , that is what ever you focus on, thats it, it will be highlighted and the background will be out of focus and at times the foreground can be out of focus as well.Setting your camera on F22, means that you have a greater depth of field and your foreground and background will be in focus. Now it will also depend on what lens you use to what effect that you get.A zoom to telephoto lens will give you a more dramatic difference as your shot is compressed as compared to a wide angle lens.
Go and have fun and see what you come up with. Set the camera up on a tripod and take the same landscape scene of portrait shot on f2.8 and f22 and see what you achieve. Remember, using a telephoto lens or zoom lens zoomed in will give you a more dramatic noticeable difference.:)
The above picture shows a shallow depth of field and was take of f2.8.
The above picture shows a greater depth of field and was take of f22.
So what looks better, vertical or horizontal? There are times when it is worth setting the shot up and it will be made known to you very quickly which one you prefer with the shot that you are taking.
In my opinion, neither looks better, it’s what works for you. Every situation will be different as subjects will vary. The key is to be aware about your depth of field and don’t be scared to explore the exciting realm of depth of field:)
Another example of Depth of Field is below. The first shot was taken at F5.6 and the shot underneath was taken at F22.