Exercise 2.7

Use a combination of small apertures and wide lens to take a number of photographs exploring deep depth of field.

Achieving a deep depth of field isn’t necessarily as easy as it might seem. The trick is to include close foreground elements in focus for an effective deep depth of field. Foreground detail also helps balance the frame, which can easily appear empty in in wide shots, especially the lower half. When successful, a close viewpoint together with the dynamic perspective of a wide-angle lens gives the viewer the feeling that they’re almost inside the scene.

IMG_1738
f22, ISO:160,24mm,1/8

 

Exercise 2.6

Use a combination of wide apertures, long focal lengths and close viewpoints to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field. Try to compose the out-of-focus parts of the picture together with the main subject.

With shallow depth of field, the subject really stands out, but the out-of-focus areas help to set the scene and are important in the building of a pleasing composition.

Exercise 2.5

Find a subject in front of a background of depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom in. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the focus to infinity and take a second shot.

As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition?

The first image has the flowers in focus and the eye is instantly drawn to them as there is a shallow depth of field and they stand out from the blurred background.

By setting the camera to infinity, the background comes more into focus and the foreground becomes blurred. This image is way harder to look at as there is nothing in the foreground for the eye to immediately rest on.

 

Exercise 2.4

Find a location with good light for a portrait shot. Place your subject some distance in front of a simple background and select a wide aperture together with a moderately long focal length. Take a viewpoint about one and a half metres from your subject, allowing you to compose a headshot comfortably within the frame. Focus on the eyes and take the shot.

IMG_1607
f4.0, ISO:250, 100mm, 1/400

The background blur created by the shallow depth of field makes the subject stand out really well. The long focal length (100mm) slightly compresses the features in a flattering way, so is ideal for portrait photography.

 

Exercise 2.3

Choose a subject in front of a background with depth. Select your shortest focal length and take a close low viewpoint, below your subject. Find a natural point of focus and take the shot.

IMG_1670_2
f4.0, ISO:100, 24mm, 1/60

This perspective is definitely extremely unflattering for a portrait shot. The subject’s features appear distorted and his face does, indeed, bulge towards the camera! To be avoided at all costs!

 

 

Exercise 2.2

Select your longest focal length and compose a portrait shot fairly tightly within the frame in front of a background with depth. Take one photograph. Then walk towards your subject while zooming out to your shortest focal length. Take care to frame the subject in precisely the same way in the viewfinder and take a second shot. Compare the two images and make notes in your learning log.

With the longer focal length (70mm), the background is more blurred. However, with the shorter focal length (24mm), there is a greater sense of depth.

The two different focal lengths show completely different elements in the frame.