We sometimes wonder how to get rid of a background without interest when we take a picture of a person or an animal. On the other hand, we may want to situate our subject in a more general or advantageous environment. To be able to choose this, we need to control the depth of field. This is the area before and behind the subject that will appear sharp and focused on our image.
In ths page, I will try to explain what makes the depth of field (DOF) and how to take profit of it…
N.B.: Nowadays, most of the cameras work in automatic mode. To have a better control over the DOF, the ideal is to use, when available on cameras, the manual mode (“M”) or the aperture priority mode (“Av”).
Based on these settings, you will be able to test more easily the extend of focused and out of focus area in your images.
Here is the explanation:
On the upper line a large aperture value is used (Ex.: f5.6 or f6.3), which give us a focused area relatively short (one tree in front and 2 trees behind the subject in the illustration).
On the second line, a medium aperture (for example: f11 or f14) will give us a wider sharp (or focused) area (2 trees before and 4 trees behind our subject). While on the third line a small aperture (f22 or f32) gives us a clearly larger focused area.
Let’s take a look at what it means on a picture…
For portraits, it’s preferable, when at reasonnable distance from our subject, to use a wide aperture (for example f5.6) to isolate it from the background (the background will then be out of focus).
It’s now up to you to decide if you want to include the environment surrounding your subject or if you want only your subject to be the main attraction of the image.
Go ahead, and have a nice photoshoot !!