Have you ever wondered how that photo seems to be popping out of the screen? This post introduces depth of field in plain English.
Depth of Field (DoF) in a photograph is a distance to the sharpest point in the photograph from foreground. Some describe DoF as the range in a photograph that appears to be in focus.
Depth of Field is one of the most effective techniques that makes a photograph stronger. Even though, it is called depth, photographers don’t actually calculate or care about the actual distance or the depth. This term is more used in communicating and critiquing photographs.
Shallow Depth of Field
In a shallow depth of field, the main subject is in focus and everything else is blurred. This reduces clutter from the frame and audience is automatically focused on the subject.
For instance, in the olives photograph above only the first olive is sharply focused and rest are blurred to a varying degree. This photograph has a shallow depth of field and that makes the first olive pop out of the photograph.
Deeper Depth of Field
What is deeper depth of field? See the photograph below. What do you see?
Why Depth of Field Matters
Which one of the two photos matter? Olive or Cupcakes? I find olives photo more interesting. Why? While the composition in both photographs are different, the depth of field makes first photo something special. Can you see the oil (or some liquid, I guess) on the olive above? Look at the two photos again. Which of the two makes a connection? Which seems more appealing?
Depth of field when used correctly can amplify the impact that a photograph leaves. Shallow depth of field is specially helpful as it blurs everything that is not focused on and sharpens the main subject.
See some examples of wonderful ice cream sundae photos that use depth of field to create a wonderful photograph.
How to Use Depth of Field
Photo Credits: Following are the credits of the photos we used.