Understanding Depth of Field in Photography (+Examples)

What is depth of field in photography? Why does depth of field matter? And most importantly, how does depth of field affect your image? 

As an amateur photographer with five years of experience, I often get asked this by beginners photographers.

Depth of field in photography, in fact, is an essential tool when composing an image. Proper depth of field plays a vital role in creating a perfect picture.

In this post, I will explain what depth of field is, how it affects your images, and help you learn how to use depth of field in photography effectively.

What is Depth of Field in Photography

Depth of field (DoF) refers to the area within a photo that appears acceptably sharp and in focus.

Every picture has a point of focus that your camera chooses to focus on. When you actually focus your lens, you will find the point of focus which can be a single point or multiple points. 

Plus, every picture has an area both in front of and behind your point of focus where everything appears sharp and in focus. This area is the depth of field in photography.

The Importance of Depth of Field in Photographic Storytelling

 Every photographer is a storyteller. Depth of field (DoF) is a vital artistic tool to help photographers tell good stories.

This tool brings lots of elements into your images. These include: 

  • viewpoints
  • meaning
  • vision
  • mood
  • emotion
  • and intention

Understanding depth of field, when to use a shallow or large depth of field, and how to create it, will take your photographic storytelling skills to the next level.  

For example, when shooting someone walking toward the camera in the forest, with a shallower depth of field you can separate the subject from the background, and create a beautiful, blurred background.

This blurred background not only adds a bit of mystery to your image, but also direct the viewer’s attention toward the subject, and make the viewer wonder what the man is doing and what the story might be.

Generally, shooting with a wide-aperture lens at these f stops – f 1.4 or f 2.8 will yield a blur.

On the other hand, having a deep(large) depth of field can make your landscapes sharp from foreground to background, and let the viewer’s eye travel from one area of the frame to another. It also creates visual narratives. You can achieve this effect by shooting at a small aperture of f 9 or f 11.

As you can see, understanding depth of field in photography will not only improve the technical quality of your images, but also make your images more interesting.

The Main Factors Affect Depth of Field

Just as three factors (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) determine exposure, there are also four factors that affect depth of field in photography. They include:

  1. aperture
  2. focal length
  3. camera-subject distance
  4. sensor size

1. Aperture

Aperture refers to the hole in your camera lens that controls the amount of light coming through the lens. We use f-stops to measure aperture, such as f 1.4, f 2.8, etc. 

The Difference Between Aperture and F Stop

F stop is a number that quantifies how much light to hit the sensor via the aperture opening, while the aperture is the hole in the middle of the lens.

How Does Aperture Affect Depth of Field? 

Adjusting aperture is the most prominent and easiest way of controlling depth of field for beginner photographers. 

The wider the aperture, the shallower depth of field you have. The smaller the aperture, the deeper the depth of field.

For example, set your aperture to the f stops – f 1.4 or f 2.8, and you’ll get a shallower depth of field with a blurry background. This is because large apertures and closer focusing distances will achieve a shallower depth of field. 

Conversely, adjust a small aperture to the f stops –  f 9 or f 11, you’ll get a deep (large) depth of field with everything in sharp focus within your frame.

Aperture Value Depth of Field

Adjusting your aperture will directly impact exposure, resulting in

  • underexposed (too dark)
  • well exposed
  • or overexposed (too bright) images

The article “What is aperture in photography” goes into quite a bit of detail. Check the link for more of an explanation. 

2. Focal Length

Focal length is the distance between the image sensor and the main lens plane when the lens is focused at infinity.

Focal lengths are in millimeters on the side of your lenses (e.g., 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, or 100 mm). 

Focal lengths range from the widest wide-angle (14mm or lower) to super-telephoto (500mm or higher).

With a kit lens, this is often 18-55 mm, which are the minimum and maximum focal lengths of your lens.

How Does Focal Length Affect Depth of Field?

Simply put:

Using a longer focal length (telephoto lens, approx. 70mm – 200mm) helps you achieve a ‘perceived’ shallower depth of field.

Conversely, use a shorter focal length (wide angle lenses, approx. 14mm – 35mm), and you get a deeper field depth.

This explains why child portrait photographers often use a longer focal length lens such as a 70-200mm telephoto lens to achieve creamy, soft background blur.

On the other hand, landscape photographers enjoy shooting with a short focal length lens (wide angle lens) to have everything acceptably sharp and focused within the frame.

However, if you adjust the camera-subject distance so that the magnification of your subject is the same, the focal length will not influence the depth of field.

Note that the lens’s focal length will also affect the angle of view—how much of the scene in front of the camera will be captured—and the magnification—how zoomed-in individual elements will be.

In a nutshell:

  • Longer the focal length = the narrower the angle of view = the higher the magnification. 
  • Shorter the focal length = the wider the angle of view =  the lower the magnification.

3. Camera-subject Distance

Camera-subject is the distance between the focal plane of a camera and the subject in focus. This distance will also affect depth of field of the image. 

The closer the camera is to the subject, the shallower the depth of field will be.

This explains why you cannot get everything in focus when taking a close-up shot, even with a small aperture.

Conversely, the further your camera is from your subject, the deeper the depth of field will be. 

However, if the camera and subject distance are unchanged, wide angle lenses with short focal lengths have a deeper depth of field than telephoto lenses with longer focal lengths. 

The Focus Distance and Camera-subject Distance

When you have a subject in focus, the distance between the camera’s sensor and the center of the subject is called focus distance. 

The focus distance is measured in cm or m from the sensor, not from the front of the lens. 

Every lens has a minimum focus distance –  the shortest distance to a subject that you can still focus on.

The focus distance is equal to the camera-subject distance when the lens can actually focus on that subject.

However, when the subject is very close to the camera, it fails to focus, then the camera-subject distance is smaller than the minimum focus distance of the lens. 

4. Sensor Size

The sensor is the heart of every digital camera. However, digital camera sensor types and camera sensor sizes are not standardized across the different brands or models, there are various sensor sizes from different manufacturers. These include: 

  • Full frame (36.00 x 24.00 mm)
  • APS-H (27.90 x 18.60 mm)
  • APS-C (23.60 x 15.60mm))
  • APS-C Canon (22.20 x 14.80mm)
  • 1.5″ (18.70 x 14.00mm)
  • Micro Four Thirds 4/3″ (17.30 x 13.00mm) and so on

Basically, the larger the sensor, the larger, heavier, and more expensive the camera and lens. A full-frame camera with large sensor is more expensive than a crop sensor camera. 

Why Is the Sensor Size so Important?

In digital cameras, the image sensor captures the subject and generates a digital image. It converts the light into electrical signals. 

The larger the sensor, the more light it captures and the more image information it can collect.

Moreover, a large sensor has a better dynamic range, so it can display larger differences in brightness without losing detail and produces less image noise. 

How Does Sensor Size Affect Depth of Field?

Camera sensor size is an important factor when it comes to determining depth of field.

In simple words, cameras with bigger sensors like full frame cameras have a shallower depth of field, while cameras with smaller sensors have a deeper depth of field, assuming you shoot with

  • the same apertures
  • the same focal length
  • and at the same camera-subject distance

The shallow depth of field of large sensors helps to create beautiful bokeh – you capture a person or subject in the foreground in sharp focus while keeping the background blurry. 

Bokeh contributes to an aesthetically pleasing picture, and the bokeh effect is popular in portrait photography. 

This is why portrait photographers like to use full frame cameras to blur the foreground or background of images.

On the other hand, cameras with small sensor sizes generally have a deeper depth of field. You need to get closer to the subject or switch to a longer focal length to get the same bokeh effect.

Advantages of Full Frame Cameras

Many professional photographers like to use full frame cameras. When you work with a full frame camera with fast lenses, besides shallow depth of field, you have more options available like broader dynamic range, better image quality, and better performance in low light. 

Does Shutter Speed Affect Depth of Field?

The short answer is no, shutter speed doesn’t affect depth of field. 

However, changing your shutter speed may change your aperture to get a new volume of light for correct exposure, this can result in a different effect on your depth of field.

This is simply because aperture controls the volume of light that passes through the lens. To compensate for the change of shutter speed, aeprture is increased or decreased accordingly in order to produce a perfectly exposed image. 

Circle of Confusion and Depth of Field

Camera lenses cannot achieve absolutely perfect focus, even the smallest dots in an image are actually blur of light that your eyes perceive as dots.

As a photographic term, the circle of confusion (CoC) refers to the measurement of such optical blurring. It describes a point of light directed by the lens onto the focal plane of a camera. 

Two Factors Influence the Circle of Confusion

The two main factors that influence the circle of confusion are aperture and focal length. 

By adjusting focal length and the camera’s aperture, you increase or decrease the size of the circle of confusion – the diameter of this spot of light as it hits the camera sensor becomes narrower or wider. 

The Circle of Confusion Affects the Depth of Field and Sharpness of An Image.

It’s worth mentioning that the circle of confusion is essentially a complicated term in photography.

The shape and size of the circle of confusion influence the depth of field and sharpness of an image.

Simply put, the larger the circle of confusion, the blurrier the point appears to the human eye, and the smaller the circle of confusion, the sharper the image.

In a nutshell, you will change the circle of confusion by merely changing the focal length and f stop numbers, thereby achieving the proper depth of field and sharpness of an image.

The Circle of Confusion and Bokeh Effect

Bokeh is the beauty of the blurred scenery in front of and behind the focal plane of an image. 

A large size of the circle of confusion indicates that more blurry points appear to the human eye, thus creating a strong bokeh effect. This is great when you work with portrait shots when you want a nice bokeh.

The Lens’s Choice and The Circle of Confusion

The shape and size of the circle of confusion vary from lens to lens depending on the lens’s quality. 

This explains why good lenses are always expensive. Simply because they produce a smaller circle of confusion at the point of focus, and therefore sharper images.

Hyperfocal Distance and Depth of Field

Hyperfocal distance is the focusing distance with the maximum depth of field at a given aperture and focal length.

Hyperfocal distance makes both the foreground and the background elements of the scene from half this distance appear acceptably sharp. Outside the hyperfocal distance, everything is still out of focus.

The factors affect the hyperfocal distance

The hyperfocal distance depends on several factors:

  • the focal length of the lens
  • the aperture used
  • and the sensor used ( full-frame or APS-C/H )

The Importance of Hyperfocal Distance in Landscape Photography

As the definition implies, focusing at the hyperfocal distance is the most accurate way to ensure maximum depth of field. Because of that, the hyperfocal distance plays an important role in getting a sharp landscape photo.

In short, the more depth of field you add to your landscape shot, the more important the hyperfocal distance becomes.

This is because the greater the depth of field, the more details in your landscape photo will appear sharp. 

After all, you want a sharp foreground subject, but also everything in the background appears sharp in your landscape shot. 

Keep in mind that focusing at the hyperfocal distance does not guarantee a sharp photo.

A good tripod, the right technique, and using things like a cable release and holding your camera steady all play an important role in getting a sharp landscape photo. 

In some situations where there is fog, a hazy atmosphere, dust, etc. the effect of the hyperfocal distance is less effective. Simply because there is optically no sharpness in the landscape.

Calculating Depth of Field – Depth of Field Calculator

The formula for depth of field calculation is essentially as complicated as you want it to be. 

The best way to calculate the depth of field is to use a depth of field calculator

A simple depth of field calculator is an APP or a website that calculates which area in your photo is displayed sharply at certain camera settings.

Fill in the fields on the depth of field calculator with

  • focal length in mm
  • the aperture used
  • the focus distance (subject distance in meters, centimeters, feet, or inches)
  • optionally whether you use a teleconverter

and click on ‘Calculate’, You get the following result:

  • Hyperfocal distance: The shortest distance at which a lens can be focused while keeping objects in focus at infinity. When the lens is focused at this distance, all objects at distances from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity will be acceptably sharp.
  • Hyperfocal near limit: If you focus on the hyperfocal distance, it is half that distance. From this point, it is then sharp.
  • Sharpness from (DoF near limit): Distance to the closest object in focus
  • Sharpness to (DoF far limit): Distance to the furthest object that is in focus
  • Depth of field: The total depth of field, also the depth in which the objects are experienced as sharp by the viewer.
  • DOF extreme limit: The distance between the camera and the furthest object that is considered acceptably sharp.
  • Depth of field in front: Distance of focus in front of the focal plane.
  • Depth of field behind subject: Distance of focus behind the focal plane

Depth of field calculator is a powerful tool to assess what camera settings are required to get a desired level of sharpness.

Types of Photography Using Shallow Depth of Fields

A blurred background can

  • make the viewer’s imagination work
  • evoke emotions
  • and create a sense of exploration, wonder, curiosity, mystery, dream, and memory

Using an adequate shallow depth of field can achieve background blur. And many photographers enjoy blur due to its visually pleasing qualities.

A shallow depth of field works best in these situations:

  1. Portrait Photography
  2. Food Photography
  3. Sports Photography
  4. Wildlife Photography
  5. Macro Photography
  6. Still Life Photography
  7. Pet (Cats and Dogs) Photography
  8. Landscape Photography

1. Portrait Photography

A shallow depth of field works perfectly for portraits.

You may have seen a stunning portrait image where the background is blurred; in contrast, the image’s subject is focused, telling a story about just the subject by blurring visual elements deliberately to help the viewer understand the story in that image. 

To achieve a beautiful blur, choosing the proper background is crucial.

It’s helpful to take some test shots and figure out what background works for you.

Moreover, with a shallower depth of field, you can even beautify a possibly ugly background of portrait pictures.

Remember that how blurry the background will be is determined by how shallow the depth of field you use.

When you get the right amount of blur – not too much and not too little, these pictures can be quite appealing. 

Shallow Depth of Fields Portrait Photography

Small Aperture Allows Blurred Background – Man in Sunny Outdoors

2. Food Photography

Food photography is about the message you want to convey.

With a shallower depth of field, you can easily show the viewer the important element in your image.

Anything in the distracting background is blurred, and attention is drawn to the clean, crisp, in-focus food.

With a nice, clean and pleasing background, viewers will quickly understand the mood or theme around the dish in your food photos. 

Besides soft, comforting, and appealing light, the right amount of blur in your picture plays an important role in sending your message. 

Macro lenses help you achieve blur backgrounds in food photography.

They bring your subject extremely close to the camera and still have a much smaller minimum focusing distance.

With an adequate shallow depth of field, you can create interesting food images that evoke viewers’ emotions and make them want to taste the dishes.

Shallow Depth of Fields food Photography

Control the Depth of Field to Get the Right Amount of Background Blur – Cake

3. Sports Photography

Shallow depth of field is a big part of sports photography.

Sports photographers enjoy blurred backgrounds because

  • this solely focuses on your subject
  • removes any distractions in the background
  • and guides the viewer’s eye towards only the main activity in your sports photograph

Moreover, a motion-blurred background can visually promote athletes’ speed or other fast-moving subjects when shooting races with

  • cars
  • bikes
  • horses
  • track runners
  • or cyclists

However, freezing the action through a deep (large) depth of field could lose the speed and drive of the sportsman in most fast-action sporting circumstances.

Because of that, the image becomes lifeless or lacks any feeling of speed or excitement. 

Shallow Depth of Fields sports Photography

Motion Blur – Man Riding Motorcycle on Road

4. Wildlife Photography

A shallow depth of field is a perfect setting for shooting wildlife, like

  • bears
  • rams
  • caribou
  • bison
  • lions
  • hippos, etc

Wide apertures allow a single animal to be isolated in the picture.

Plus, it blurs the busy or uninteresting background with beautiful bokeh and emphasizes the single animal in the photograph. 

As wildlife photographers, we can’t control the movement of animals. We are often left with distracting, hectic, cluttered, or busy backgrounds.

A great benefit offered by background blur is it provides clean, simple, calm, smooth, and peaceful backgrounds. It makes your subject stand out from the busy surroundings.

Besides long focal length zoom lenses, the quality of the bokeh or background blur plays a significant role in terms of your image quality.

However, when you want a group of two or more animals in focus, using smaller apertures of f/7.1 or f/8 to maintain a proper depth of field is critical for successful group wildlife pictures.

Shallow Depth of Fields wildlife Photography

A Lovely Blur – Red Panda Perching on Tree during Daytime

5. Macro Photography

Macro photography captures a close-up and highly detailed image of a small subject, such as

  • flowers
  • plants
  • small insects

A clean background is quite important when shooting tiny subjects.

When you immerse yourself in getting the small subject in sharp focus, it’s easy to forget to check your background.

With a very shallow depth of field, you capture a simple background – the simpler the background, the more interesting the subject. 

You’ll also want to your camera-subject distance to be very small. You’ll also want .

Simultaneously, it’s challenging to capture these small insects on the image with a shallow depth of field since you have such a narrow plane of focus.

Minor adjustments could ruin your image quality. It requires a lot of time and a lot of preparation. 

Although we can’t always control the background, insect macro photographers like to find a place with simple background potential and wait for the insect to move into it.

Macro/close-up photography will open up a whole new world for you because you get up close and personal with small subjects, like tiny insects that you can’t see with the naked eye.

Each fly, bee, and spider is a little monster of this new world.

Practice makes perfect, no matter if you shoot small or big subjects. 

Shallow Depth of Fields Macro Photography

Shallow Focus – Brown and Black Fly on Green Leaf

6. Still Life Photography

Still life photography is a great way to show off your skills and artistic flair.

You will completely control and experiment with

  • composition,
  • depth of field
  • lighting
  • materials
  • textures
  • subjects
  • framing, etc. 

Having a nice and clean background will play a crucial role in the overall success of your still-life pictures.

On the other hand, a messy or unattractive background can quickly ruin your shot.

Shallow depth of field offers you a clean background, enhancing your still-life pictures that need attention to the subject rather than the entire scene.

Viewers will concentrate more on the subject without getting distracted by unimportant details in the background.

There are many advantages to working with still life, and mastering still life makes you a better photographer.

Shallow Depth of Fields Still Life Photography

Out of Focus Background – Little Pink Roses Bouquet, Rustical Still Life

7. Pet (Cats and Dogs) Photography

Pet photography is a popular form of photography.

It’s about capturing the pet’s

  • personality
  • habits
  • character
  • and memorable moments

When you’re shooting a cute puppy, it’s easy to forget to examine a busy background scene.

With a shallow depth of field, you can create a wonderful soft blur of color behind your cat/dog, making them stand out in a chaotic environment.

Patience is the key to creating successful pet pictures. Make sure your pets feel comfortable when shooting.

Focusing on the pet’s eyes will create more of a connection between your cat/dog and the viewer. 

Shallow Depth of Fields Pet Photography

Shallow Depth of Field Flowers – Black Dog

8. Landscape Photography

Deep (large) depth of field is a common technique in landscape photography.

But have you ever thought of shooting a landscape with a shallow depth of field?

If you want to improve your skill as a landscape photographer, you won’t regret trying, just for a while, shallow depth of field in your landscape pictures.

A shallow depth of field is a helpful tool to create a significant effect in your landscape pictures.

With that, you can eliminate any distracting background details to highlight the main subject in your landscape pictures. 

For example, there are situations where your main subject in the landscape is the close-up of objects (flowers, trees, grasses, etc.); you may not want the distant mountain or waterfall to be in perfect focus; in this case, adequate shallow depth of field will help you achieve the effect. 

Be sure to look for good viewpoints and beautiful areas of interest when shooting landscapes.

Change your point of view when necessary, which can also reduce background distractions in your landscape pictures.

Artistically speaking, there is no right or wrong, only a difference of effect when choosing a shallow or deep (large) depth of field.

Successful landscape pictures don’t always have to be sharp.

Just shoot your landscapes with a shallow or deep field depth, depending on the story you want to tell in your image. 

Shallow Depth of Fields landscape Photography

Shallow Depth of Field Flowers – Tree trunk, Close-up

How to Achieve Shallow Depth of Field

  • Use a long lens like a medium telephoto lens or a telephoto lens.
  • Shoot close to your subject or increase your subject and background distance.
  • Use a wide aperture (low f/stop number).

Types of Photography Using Deep Depth of Fields

A deep (large) depth of field makes the entire frame sharp and clear.

It brings out little details from the foreground to the background in the scene.

Such great detailed images will transport the viewer deeper into the scene – viewers will gradually explore the scene since there is fine detail everywhere.

Deep (large) depth of field also makes your image appear more lifelike and provides context for your subject.

Below are some situations when a deep (large) depth of field works best:

  1. Landscape Photography
  2. Panorama Photography
  3. Food Photography
  4. Street Photography
  5. Cityscape Photography
  6. Macro Photography
  7. Architectural Photography
  8. Real Estate Photography

1. Landscape Photography

You need a deep (large) depth of field when you are shooting landscapes as a beginner photographer.

You may have already noticed that many classic landscape pictures have a proper depth of field to keep large areas acceptably sharp and clear, thus creating a sense of scale and depth. 

In a landscape, it’s pretty common to have several areas of interest within the frame rather than a single center of interest to focus on, such as

  • mountain peaks
  • trees
  • flowers
  • rocks
  • rivers, etc.

In that case, an adequate deep (large) depth of field could convey the vastness of the scene.

Viewers can see all these areas of interest from front to back with great clarity.

When you get the right amount of deep (large) depth of field, you can create

  • powerful
  • dynamic
  • and captivating images

Conversely, both more and less deep (large) depth of field than needed have a negative impact on your pictures. 

To capture fine detail and deep (large) depth of field, you should use a narrower aperture, and a shorter focal length lens to shoot at a distance.

Deep Depth of Fields landscape Photography

Autumn Forest Nature Landscape – Use Short Focal Length, Small Aperture

2. Panorama Photography

Panoramas are extremely wide photographs (vertical or horizontal) created by stitching together a series of overlapping pictures of the scene.

It’s all about capturing vast scenery that is too big to shoot in a normal picture.

Deep depth of field is a critical component of every picture in panorama photography. It allows the viewer to see the details of the scene across the entire frame.

Moreover, deep (large) depth of field builds a strong visual narrative and provides several areas of interest for viewers to check out.

To capture the vastness and grandeur of the landscape, you’ll also need a short focal length, and a small aperture to keep everything in focus

Generally, a standard lens with a focal length between 35mm to 50mm works best when shooting panoramic landscape pictures.

Keep the focal distance (the distance from the camera sensor to the subject you focus on) for each photo you take. 

Next time you encounter vast landscapes, you can create a truly sweeping, breathtaking landscape picture by taking panorama shots.

Deep Depth of Fields Panorama

Use Short Focal Length, Small Aperture to Transports the Viewer Into a Larger Than Life Moment

3. Food Photography

Deep depth of field is key for creating delicious-looking food photography images.

If you have several main subjects and supporting subjects in the frame, and all the subjects are equally important, then deep (large) depth of field works best for you.

For example, when you photograph a dinner scene with lots of food on the table, then a deep (large) depth of field is great to emphasize detail within the whole frame.

Moreover, deep (large) depth of field is essential for capturing small details when the height of the food varies.

With such great details, viewers examine the scene bit by bit and connect to all the subjects in your food picture. 

For instance, a top-down food shot is a very popular composition solution to show a whole table scene or draw attention to the details on top of dishes. 

When you’re shooting flat lays or top-down food pictures, deep (large) depth of field keeps everything in the image acceptably sharp and clear.

Besides, a focal length between 24mm – 70mm works best for food photography.

Deep Depth of Fields Food Photography

Deep Depth of Field, Short Focal Length – Top View Photo of Food Dessert

4. Street Photography

As a street photographer, your job is to tell stories of people in daily life in public places and evoke the viewer’s emotion through pictures.

Although a large aperture lens, like F 1.4, F 1.2, or F 2.8 with an impressively shallow depth of field, works well in street photography, deep depth of field is also an essential tool when shooting on the street.

With a deep (large) depth of field, You get multiple interesting elements on the street in sharp focus, providing context or multiple points of interest in the frame for the viewer to explore.

Plus, you can fill more of the frame with multiple interactions and people with a deep (large) depth of field, while a shallow depth of field usually hides the background or simplifies the scene. 

Generally, small apertures between f/ 8 to f /5.6, and short focal lengths between 35mm and 50mm are considered the best settings for street photography.

Street photography is a challenging and satisfying genre that involves a lot of waiting. Be patient before the perfect shot comes to you.

Capturing life on the street with a deep (large) depth of field will bring you lots of fun.

Deep Depth of Field street Photography

Deep Depth of Field and Short Focal Length – Man-Standing Outdoor

5. Cityscape Photography

Cityscape photography discovers the city’s unique niches, towering skyscrapers, and vast skyline views.

The power of a cityscape comes from an extensive depth of field that provides front-to-back sharpness.

A deep (large) depth of field allows you to capture all of the buildings in focus, making the landscape feel spacious and also creating a strong visual impact on viewers with fine details. 

Try to maximize depth of field if it’s possible. If your pictures look blurry and soft, the chances are that a certain part of the picture is still out of focus. 

Set a small aperture to f/11 or even smaller, and short focal lengths between 35mm and 50mm. With that, you gain an even deeper field depth, making everything in focus and sharp. 

Cities are often fast-paced and chaotic. When composing an image, get rid of the distracting elements so you can take a clear picture of the town.

Deep Depth of Field Cityscape Photography

Cityscape Photography Creates a Feeling of Environment, Time, and Emotion for the Viewer – Aerial Photography Of City

6. Macro Photography

Depth of field is critical to ensure the details of your subject are sharp in macro photography.

A picture of a grasshopper with a sharp body but an out-of-focus eye is in vain.

In many cases, a subject exists on multiple planes of focus; deep (large) depth of field works well to render everything from front to back in focus. 

If you get to f/16 and still can’t obtain the desired depth of field, set a smaller aperture to attain an even deeper depth of field.

Many macro lenses allow an aperture of f32 – a very small aperture that provides an amazingly deep depth of field when necessary.

Alternatively, instead of adjusting the aperture, carefully move the camera back to acquire a deeper depth of field to increase the distance from your subject. 

Macro photography can be challenging because most camera lenses cannot focus on very close subjects.

Try to use a smaller but still sharp aperture, and focal lengths between 50mm and 100m in a close-up shot. When done well, the results can be amazing.

Deep Depth of Field Macro Photography

Deep Depth of Field, Small Aperture, and Short Focal Length –  Insect on a Leaf

7. Architectural Photography

Architectural photography allows people to enjoy beautiful architecture worldwide and visually understand buildings, factories, structures, and cityscapes that they‘ve never visited before.

Deep depth of field is essential to keep structural details sharp if you miss fine details, assuming you are not too far away.

Plus, deep depth of field works well when shooting large structures that are a little bit far away, such as

  • railway stations
  • international airports
  • sports centers
  • exhibition
  • and convention centers, etc. 

With deep depth of field, you can bring out sharp, clean lines that are important elements when composing architectural pictures.

These horizontal, diagonal, or vertical lines create a sense of scale, especially if you’re shooting a large bridge or massive structure.

Architecture is everywhere. You can practice photographing architecture pictures everywhere you go, including inside and outside.

Aim for an aperture between f/8 and f/14, and focal lengths anywhere between 16mma and 35mm are ideal for shooting architecture.

Keep your eyes open and be aware of interesting buildings and structures in historical or modern parts of your city.

With regular practice, you’ll create stunning images that tell powerful stories about the architecture. 

Deep Depth of Field Architectural Photography

Brown and Gray Castle – Deep Depth of Field, and Short Focal Length.

8. Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography creates compelling images that help sell houses or apartments.

When shooting the house’s interiors or the entire room, it’s best to use a deep depth of field to highlight the fine details.

Usually, setting the aperture around f8 works fine for most interior pictures. 

For example, if you’re shooting a dining room with a long dining table in the middle, shooting at f/14 may help you have a lot of detail from the foreground (the nearest edge of the table) to the background(the more distant objects in the room) all sharply in focus.

However, a shallow depth of field is recommended to capture the house’s expanse when shooting the house’s exterior.

If there is an interesting feature in a house, like a tap or the hardware on a cabinet drawer, a shallow depth of field works well to show off this particular feature.

Using a small aperture like f/2 will help you blur the scene’s background, thus making the detail stand out.

For general work, short focal lengths, anything between 12mm and 35mm will provide good exteriors/interior shots. 

Real estate photography is not only an art but also a serious business that involves both interior and exterior shooting. 

With great detailed, high-quality real estate pictures, you can show the property as effectively as possible to potential clients. 

Deep Depth of Field Real Estate

New Luxury House – Deep Depth of Field and Short Focal Length.

How to Achieve Deep Depth of Field

  • Use a wide angle lens (short focal length).
  • Increase your subject and camera distance.
  • Use a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number).


Understanding what factors affect the depth of field in photography and knowing how to create desired depth of field will give you more artistic creativity.

Try different focal length lenses, and different apertures, and move back and forth from the subject.

Once you master depth of field, you will become a stronger and more creative photographer. Enjoy exploring the depth of field!

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