There are ways to create a blurry background with an image editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, but why would you want to go through all that hard work when it’s so simple to do it in-camera?
At the same time, learning about DoF is very important to make sure you’ll use the right settings for different types of photography.
You may have heard the term depth of field (DoF), but if you are new to photography you may not yet be taking advantage of how DoF can enhance your photos. A basic definition of depth of field is: the zone of acceptable sharpness within a photo that will appear in focus. In every picture there is a certain area of your image in front of, and behind the subject that will appear in focus.
This zone will vary from photo to photo. Some images may have very small zones of focus which is called shallow depth of field. Others may have a very large zone of focus which is called deepdepth of field. Three main factors that will affect how you control thedepth of field of your images are: aperture (f-stop), distance from the subject to the camera, and focal length of the lens on your camera. Here are some explanations and answers to other common questions concerning depth of field.
How does aperture control depth of field?
Aperture refers to the access given to light from the lens to the camera sensors. The size of your aperture (the diameter of the hole through which light enters the camera) controls the amount of light entering your lens. Using the aperture (f-stop) of your lens is the simplest way to control your depth of field as you set up your shot.
Large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field
Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field
It may be easier to remember this simple concept: The lower your f-number, the smaller your depth of field. Likewise, the higher your f-number, the larger your depth of field. For example, using a setting of f/2.8 will produce a very shallow depth of field while f/11 will produce a deeper DoF.
How does distance control depth of field?
The closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower your depth of field becomes. Therefore, moving further away from your subject will deepen your depth of field.
How does the focal length of a lens control depth of field?
Focal Length refers to the capability of a lens to magnify the image of a distant subject. This can get complicated, but the simple answer is that the longer you set your focal length the shallower the depth of field. Example: Your subject is 10 meters (33 feet) away, using a focal length of 50mm at f/4; your depth of field range would be from 7.5 -14.7 meters (24.6-48 feet) for a total DOF of 7.2 meters (23.6 feet). If you zoom into 100mm from the same spot, the depth of field changes to 9.2-10.9m (30.1-35.8′) for a total of 1.7m (5.7′) of depth of field. But if you move to 20m (66′) away from your subject using the 100mm lens, your depth of field is almost the same as it would be at 10 meters using a 50mm lens.
How will understanding depth of field improve my images?
Managing depth of field is one of the most important tools at your disposal, because having tack sharp images is one of the most important factors to getting that great shot. Knowing how to make the parts of your image you want sharp and the parts you want to be out of focus, is a great artistic tool to create great images.
Increase depth of field
- Narrow your aperture (larger f-number)
- Move farther from the subject
- Shorten focal length
Decrease depth of field
- Widen your aperture (smaller f-number)
- Move closer to the subject
- Lengthen your focal length
Source: Digital Photography School