Photography basics: how to add depth to your photos

Shallow depth of field

Perspective and the focal length


One of the key photography basics you learn about depth of field when starting out is how changing your lens can create a different sense of perspective in your images. The relationship between the objects depends on which lens you’re using and where you position yourself. In this series we’ve used three different focal lengths, from wide to telephoto.

In each shot we changed our shooting position so the photo composition was consistent. For the wide angle we were very close to the subject and for the telephoto we were further away. Look at the difference in the perspective.

Photography Basics: perspective and the focal length - 20mm


These trees are equally spaced out but when they’re shot with a wide-angle the tree nearest to the camera is separated from the others by a greater distance.

Photography Basics: perspective and the focal length - 50mm


When shot with a 50mm lens, the overall scene has a more natural appearance, closing the gap between the nearest trees and drawing the background closer.

Photography Basics: perspective and the focal length - 85mm


Now the gaps between the trees are compressed so much that they almost appear to be side-by-side. The benches and background also stand out more.

PAGE 1: What is depth of field?
PAGE 2: Perspective and the focal length
PAGE 3: Using a long lens
PAGE 4: Change the focal plane


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