Time for a little photography lesson in week 10 of the Pet Photography 52 Week Project with the topic "depth of field". Depth of field is that slice of focus in an image and it's controlled by the aperture of the lens. It's a shallow depth of field that gives us the those creamy, soft backgrounds that we love so much in a pet or family portrait. We've had below freezing temps here in the Dallas - Fort Worth area this week so it was into my Carrollton studio for this week's blog circle entry!
Let's break down what I just wrote above, starting with "slice of focus". If you picture an image before you with vertical slices cut into it, we can make a creative decision on how many of those slices we want in focus, and where the first slice starts. There's a lot that goes into that decision; distance of camera to subject, distance of subject to the background, point of focus and lastly your camera's aperture.
A shallow depth of field is just that, shallow. Only a very thin slice of the image is in focus. The opposite is true for greater depth of focus. This is where it can get confusing for new photographers because your camera's aperture control can be a bit counterintuitive; very small aperture openings have big numbers and create big depths of field. Large aperture openings have small numbers and create small depths of field. Add to that the seemingly strange graduation of f-stops (the reason why they are measured and labeled this way is fairly complex and way more than you want to read in a pet photography post, but if your enquiring mind wants to know, you can read more here) and you may never take your camera off the automatic setting - but ah - those are the artistic tools of the photographer.
Graduation of Depth of Field
I know there are a ton of these types of examples on the internet, but I decided to do my own as not only a practice in graduated depth of field, but also in reciprocal exposure - yet another complex concept that's too wieldy for this post. My husband returned from a trip to China this week and brought me back these little mementos that he saw in a pottery shop in the Tiazifang area of Shanghai because they look like our dog Dingo.
The figurines were placed 4" apart and I focused on the standing dog in each frame, watch how the sleeping dog gradually comes into focus as I decrease the aperture opening (so it's getting smaller) which is represented by increasing f/stop numbers. At f/2.8 not even all of the standing dog is in focus; large aperture opening with a very narrow slice of focus on the tip of the dog's nose.
Let's see how deep St. Cloud MN dog photographer About A Dog Photography goes into this topic and then continue clicking on the link at the bottom of each post for an around the world tour of some very talented pet photographers. Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America; a designation held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry and professionalism. Penny Whistle specializes in both natural light and studio photography providing pet, couple & engagement, family and high school senior portraits as well as corporate headshots and commercial photography services in her studio located in historic downtown Carrollton as well as on location in Coppell, Grapevine, Southlake, Flower Mound and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.