3 ways to affect depth of field: free cheat sheet

How to affect depth of field: free photography cheat sheet

Depth of field, or ability to control which parts of your pictures are sharp, is one of the main advantages of owning an SLR camera. Look at a scene with your own eyes, and everything from your feet to the horizon is usually in focus. But your pictures do not need to look like this.

You can set up your digital camera so that only certain parts of the shot are in sharp focus, and others are artistically blurred. This allows you to create emphasis where you want it – and to hide elements that would otherwise prove distracting.

Your lens can only focus sharply at one distance. However, due to the optical property known as ‘depth of field’ a range of distances will actually appear sharp. This zone of sharpness will vary enormously.

Our latest photography cheat sheet examines three common ways you can affect depth of field. Our infographic looks at how aperture, focus distance and focal length will affect what appears sharp in your images (for more on this you might also find useful our guide to Depth of field: what you need to know for successful images).

Simply drag and drop this cheat sheet on to your desktop to save the larger version as a handy reference. And if you liked this, you might also like our infographics on understanding the color temperature scale and our portrait lighting cheat sheet.

SEE MORE: What is depth of field in photography?

3 ways to affect depth of field: free cheat sheet

Click on the infographic to see the larger version, or drag and drop to your desktop to save.


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  • HeyHey

    Or even using Mac or iPad applications when it would be even more fun. 😉

  • Paddy

    Changing the focus distance – its mentioned that closer the subject, less the depth of field and vice versa. However, elsewhere (I think in this website) it was advised under Landscape Photography tips to use 1/3 focus distance (Hyperfocal Distance) for best depth of field. Which is correct?