Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to add a Shallow Depth of Field in Landscape Images

A shallow depth of filed is a very common and attractive way to add a sense of dimension in images. You can mostly find it in macro shots, close-ups and portraits. In this post I want to talk about a different side of depth of field, and that's depth in landscape shots.

click on the images for a bigger view

Here is a side by side comparison of the same shot with a wide depth of field (left) and shallow depth of field (right). It's the same view, but the shallow depth of field adds more interest to a specific aeria of the image.


The trick to getting these types of shots in camera is to use the Av mode on your dslr camera. The Av mode controls the aperture of your lens.


On canons, you switch to Av Mode by sliding the dial to "Av", and then you use the round dial on the front of the camera (picture below), to set the aperture.



If you set it to a high number like 11 and above you will get crisp images, like the version below.


But here is the trick. If you set it to a small number like 1.8, 2, even 3, and then focus on a specific aeria of your image, and take that shot, only the focused part will actually stay in focus. Everything else will be blurry.


I am not saying that this is the way to go with landscape photography, but it does create a nice effect in your images. That's why I thought I would share this quick and simple method.

Of course, this method works the other way around as well. For crisp and sharp landscape shots, use a high aperture number. That way you can get sharp shots like the one that follows.


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this quick tip, and I also hope it'll inspire you on your next photo session!

29 comments:

  1. Thanks for the lesson on depth of field control. It works for macro photography as well. Use of a large aperture gives a narrow sharp focus depth to emphasize the subject of the photo. I like the examples you used. I often set my aperture at f11 and let the shutter speed vary, but that's just my style.

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    1. That's right. It's very simple, but very effective thing to remember.

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  2. Hi Mersad. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. Depth of Field is one thing I always have trouble with. I'm guilty of using the "auto" settings on my cameras most of the time. This was very informative and helpful.

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    1. The Av mode is semi-automated. You control the depth of field with it, and the camera does the rest. You should try it. It's very easy.

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  3. I usually rely on auto setting, but I had a go. I followed your instructions and achieved various effects. Thank you, I shall go out and practice right now.

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    1. That's really good to hear. I hope you'll come back with lots of great shots.

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  4. Mersad, I am happy with landscapes. I like sharp front to back. I enjoy wide angle shooting and I just love the new Canon tilt shifts. They do take an hour to work the first time but once you get the feel of the lens they only need a little nudge of tilt at f9/f11 and if you have them set up on a panoramic head you can shift sideways for a perfect panorama. Having said that when I posted the very intermittent Bluebells. I used a telephoto on f 4 and focussed one bunch in. I agree with what you say but it is hard for people shooting with I-pads or compacts. The sensor size makes a hell of a difference. I have a medium format Bronica on film. I tend to set up with the Canon and then let the Bronica have a go. I will, sometime, post the same view through both. I should say a similar view. As all good landscapes take time, a tripod and yet more time. The light is never perfect.
    I enjoyed this but I am a silly old man who spends enough money on used cameras to buy a second hand Porche.

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    1. This is just another option, people may have not realized or are not used to. As i wrote, if you want to have the traditional sharp front-to-back landscapes (as I want them always to be), then you will need a high aperture number. This here is an artistic rendering, an idea, something that can make you think outside the box. Conformity to rules of photography is great (i play by the rules too), but breaking them is important as well, because it creates room for something new and unseen. I love your landscape images, and could only wish to have money on the Porsche level, to spend on gear. I would do it in an instant. :)

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  5. Thanks for this tutorial, Mersad! I hope I can make good use of it!! Hope your week is going well!!

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    1. I hope you do. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Simple explanation but so clear, ever good tips
    Thanks
    Stefano

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  7. Your comment to Adrian says volumes.. Break rules and think outside the box.
    Take chances and take scads of pictures!
    Your tutorial is great, very clear and easy to follow. I must confess I never take my Canon off manual, I like complete control. But then I've been in photography since the dark ages.
    Your posts are always great.. I always look forward to reading them!

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    1. Thank you Laura. Manual mode is my usual mode as well, but I do use Av for portraits.

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  8. Thank you for this tutorial!

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  9. Very easy to understand and informative tutorial. Always enjoy your photos, too.

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  10. Nice straightforward tutorial and the sample pictures you used were perfect examples.

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  11. Mersad, that is EXACTLY what I wanted to know. Thank you. I also think it's fun to focus on something random within the landscape. So, thank you for that tip too.

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