Depth of field, or DOF, is a term often bandied around when it comes to “getting creative” with photography. To put it simply, it refers to how much of your image is in focus, from front to back. You may want to isolate your subject from its background by throwing the background out of focus, a technique often used in portraiture and wildlife photography. You may want things the other way around, with as much of the image in focus as possible, something typically used in landscape photography.
There are basically three things that control the DOF in your images:
- Focal length
- Distance to subject
Here we’re looking at distance to subject. In other words, how far away from the camera are you focussing – this can have a significant impact on the resulting image. Compare the two shots below – in the first, focus is on the near tree, which compared to the second shot where focus is on the tree in the middle distance, the depth of field is significantly less in the first image.
So, the less distance there is to your subject (the point at which you’re focussing) the shallower the depth of field. Use this technique to isolate your subject from the background by getting in close: