Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Jim Harmer

Understanding depth of field and showing some self control

This is a really useful article from Jim Harmer at Improve Photography. Regularly in the classes I teach I find people who are so absorbed by shallow depth of field that they fail to see that some of the most important parts of their image are out of focus.

“I get it.  Depth of field is fun to play with and makes our pictures look amazing, but I’m here to say that more of a good thing is not always better.

Look at the image featured on this page of my beautiful wife, Emily.  The depth-of-field adds to this image to make her stand off the page; however, this image suffers from too shallow depth of field.  The depth of field was only about two inches in this picture because I used an aperture of f/1.8, a 50mm lens, and I was only two or three feet away from the subject.  You can see that part of her face is out of the plane of focus, and that is a bit distracting.  What I really wanted was to make her completely in focus and just blur out the background.  You might not be able to tell this on the small preview of the image, but it’s obvious if you click to make it big.  This post is for those of you who always crank the aperture down to the lowest number available.”…interested?...more

Too shallow depth of field – Jim Harmer’s mistake