Depth of field is the clarity that occurs in front of and behind the person or object focused on. If we can control the depth of field, we can bring the subject we want to photograph to the foreground as we want and we can destroy the background in the photograph as we want.

Using depth of field is one of the most important arguments that can be used to better explain the subject that is intended to be explained rather than catching the light with the aperture, shutter and iso information that creates the photo frame.

What is Depth of Field? [DOF]

Depth of field is one of the subjects the photographer can control. Sometimes a smaller area can be featured in a portrait shot, while a larger angle can be featured in a wide-angle landscape shot.

So how do we control the depth of field? There are three different elements to control the depth of field. The first of these is the aperture opening. You can also control the depth of field by controlling the focal length and the camera’s distance to the subject. Let’s look at the details of these.

How Do I Check DOF?

If you have just started taking photos, the most important issues you are most curious about are how can I blur the background. Especially in portrait photography, focusing on the model and killing the background almost completely gives a very good image. So how can we destroy the background in the photos we took or how can we control the depth of field as we mentioned in the title?

What is depth of field

Aperture: The size of the depth of field is inversely proportional to the aperture. The more we open the aperture, the bigger the depth of field. This means that at low apertures such as f / 1.8 or f / 2.8, the depth of field is low. The shorter the aperture, that is, if we use aperture values ​​such as f / 16 or f / 22, the bigger the depth of field. Sometimes it is not always possible to check the depth of field with the aperture due to insufficient lighting conditions.

You can separate the subject you are photographing from the background using a low aperture (low f-value).

Depth of field aperture
D7100 / 1/160 – f/4 – ISO100 – 70 mm

In photography, we usually separate the foreground object from the background as a result of the shallow, selective “DOF” and we can simply reach the Bokeh dots, called “background blurs”. You can see a sample bokeh photo below.

What is depth of field
1/125 / ƒ/1.8 / ISO1600 / 85 mm

Focal Length: Depending on the focal length of the lens you use, DOF is also affected. It’s decreases as the focal length increases. For example, in a landscape photograph taken with a 16mm wide-angle lens (the aperture and the distance to the subject is the same), a clearer area will appear from the foreground objects to the back, while the DOF will be less when shooting with a 85mm lens.

Controlling depth of field
D90 – 1/1000 / ƒ/3.2 / ISO 200 / 40 mm

Distance to the Subject: The distance of the camera to the subject is one of the factors affecting the DOF. It’s decreases as you approach the subject. In other words, the closer we get to the object we photographed, the more selective depth of field (shallow dof) we get. In this case, the focused object is clear and the other parts are blurred. (see pigeons).

If we need to summarize briefly, the dof in general depends on the aperture. Reducing the aperture will increase it. That is, you can separate the subject from the background using smaller f-values, that is, you can make the background blur.

Even if the aperture value is large for shallow DOF, you can reduce the depth of field by staying close to the subject you are photographing. Even if you don’t have a lens that provides low f values ​​such as F / 1.8 or F / 2.8, you can stay close to the object and blur the background even with the kit lens you have. Of course, prime lenses with low f value are lenses that you can easily destroy the background and use with your kit lens, especially in portrait shots.

If you need more ideas, technique, tips and tutorials you can check our Photography page here.

May your light be bright. Stay healthy.

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Digital photography ideas, tips, techniques and tutorials for camera owners of all levels.