Week 11 – Food Photography – Depth of Field

Depth of field-the distance between the nearest and farthest points that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Depth of field can be extensive or shallow.

See an example of extensive depth of field: Bill Brandt, East Essex Coast, 1957
Everything from the ear in the foreground to the cliffs in the background is sharp.

See an example of shallow depth of field: Roy DeCarava, Picket Demonstration, 1963
Only the man in the middle distance is in focus. the person before him and the person behind him are not in focus.

 Depth of Field relates to focus. It is not to be confused with Perspective-the representation of a 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional surface by converging lines, diminishing scale and/or atmospheric perspective.

Factors effecting DOF on a camera:

  • lens aperture
  • focal length
  • camera-to-subject distance
  • sensor size.

When photographing with a camera for shallow depth of field:

  • Use Aperture Priority or Av and set the camera to the widest aperture (lowest number.)
  • Use the telephoto end of your lens (zoom in.) 
  • Get close to the subject
  • Allow some distance between the subject and the background. There must be space between the foreground and background of your composition. 

 Bokeh-Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality.” Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.  — From http://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/article/h0ndz86v/bokeh-for-beginners.html

When photographing with a camera phone:

Because of its very small sensor size, it can be very difficult to get shallow depth of field with a cameraphone. However the same general approach will work:

  • Zoom in
  • Get close to the subject
  • Allow some distance between the subject and the background. There must be space between the foreground and background of your composition.

Take several small objects and photograph them using shallow depth of field, once with the focus on the object closest to the camera and once with it on the object further from the camera. Put the two photos into a post with a description of shallow depth of field and how you got it in your photos. Give the post the category Week 11 – Food Photography – Depth of Field.

Focus is on the farther clove of garlic. The clove in front is out of focus.

Focus is on the front object.