Depth of Field Explained. In photography, depth of field refers to the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a place that seems to appear acceptably sharp in an image.

Now, there is just one point on which your camera can focus sharply. The phrase “acceptably sharp” is broad, though, and the change from sharp to unsharp is slow.

Without getting too scientific, elements that affect how sharp an image is acceptable include the scale at which it will be viewed and how you will be viewing it.

Various factors, including aperture and subject distance, will affect the crisp zone in each photograph.

To control the amount of your sharp image and the amount of blur, you must alter your camera’s settings and composition.

Depth of Field Explained2

Depth of Field Explained

Why Is Depth of Field Important?

In photography, a shallow depth of field means that only a small portion of the scene is in focus, while a deep depth of field means that most of the scene is in focus. The importance of depth of field lies in its ability to control what the viewer sees as most important in the image.

By utilizing a shallow depth of field, photographers can direct attention to a specific part of the image, such as a person’s face or a garden’s flower. Similarly, using a deep depth of field can help create a feeling of spaciousness or ensure that all elements in the scene are sharply focused. In either case, understanding and controlling the depth of field is an essential skill for any photographer.

Factors Affecting Depth Of Field

The depth of field can be affected by several factors, including the aperture setting, focal length, and camera-to-subject distance. 


Aperture is perhaps the most important factor, with a wider aperture (lower f-number such as F 1.4) resulting in a shallow depth of field and a narrower aperture (higher f-number such as F 16) resulting in a greater depth of field.

You may be familiar with the f-stop values, represented by the following numbers: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, etc. Since the widest apertures have shallower depths of fields, the smallest f-numbers are appropriate. Furthermore, the deeper depth of fields is associated with bigger f-numbers, which also have the tightest apertures.

Therefore, if you want to capture a landscape with a deep depth of field, set your aperture to f/11 or above, and you should typically achieve foreground-to-background sharpness.

A gorgeous, blurred background will result from setting your aperture to f/2.8 while taking a portrait and wanting a shallow depth of focus, meaning your subject is in focus and the background is completely blurred out. 

Depth of Field Explained1

Depth of Field Explained

2.Distance Between The Camera And The Subject

Distance between the camera and the subject significantly impacts the depth of field. The depth of field decreases with decreasing distance. Have you ever attempted to shoot a close-up photograph of a flower or an insect but failed to do so because, despite using a small aperture, the entire subject was out of focus? It is due to the smaller depth of field created by being near your subject. Instead try to step back and zoom into the subject. This will get the subject in focus and create blur in the background. 

Depth of Field Explained4

Depth of Field Explained

3.Focal length

A shallower depth of field results from a longer focal length.

Therefore, if your subject is 33 feet (10 metres) away and your aperture is set to f/4, a focal length of 50mm will give you a depth of field range of around 22-63 feet (6.7-19.2 metres), giving you a total DoF of 41 feet (12.5 meters).

However, if you use a zoom lens of 100mm while remaining stationary and maintaining an aperture of f/4, the depth of field changes to around 29.5-37.5 feet (9-11.4 metres), for a total DoF of 8 feet (2.4 meters).

Strong Depth Of Field Effect

Your depth of field is determined by your focal length, aperture, and distance to your subject.

It follows that these three variables may interact to provide an extremely strong depth of field effect, or they may cancel each other out.

For instance, you can produce an ultra-shallow depth of focus if you use a telephoto lens, shoot at f/2.8, and zoom into your subject.

However, if you use a wide-angle lens and come close to your subject, the two effects will typically balance out, producing a medium depth of field.

Depth of Field Explained how to take epic photos

Depth of Field Explained

Adjusting the Depth of Field 

To see how the actual image will appear, you must take a few different photos mixing up the methods described above. Smaller apertures (meaning the number such as F 2.8) create shallow depth of field. The larger the number such as f 11 will produce a deep depth of field meaning more of the image will be in focus. 

Mirrorless photographers may have an advantage over DSLR photographers because they can see the final image through the LCD or digital viewfinder, feel free to experiment before pressing the shutter so you can see the difference.

Depth of Field Explained3

Depth of Field Explained

Final Thoughts

It is pointless to obsess over a photographs depth of field (DoF) measured in inches. The fun of photography would be destroyed by it. Knowing when to use a modest DoF and how to produce one is far more crucial. 

You’ll have more artistic flexibility to produce the photos you desire if you know what elements affect the depth of field in a photograph.

Practice is the best teacher. Experiment with your camera to get to know it better. Examine various focal lengths, alter the aperture, and shift your feet to alter your viewpoint. Zoom and and out and see what kind of results you get.  Analyse your photos to understand how your equipment works.

Remember photography is a balance of between your settings, your focal length and your composition. 


The gear we recommend is a good camera and the holy trinity.  A wide-angle lens.  14-24mm or something similar.  A 24-70mm or something similar and, of course, a 70-200mm or something similar. This will get you through any photography assignment and can get any job done. For fun or pleasure.