20/08/2006

Depth Of Field in Close-ups


As you move closer to a subject such as an insect or flower, you'll find your DOF begins to narrow dramatically. Which means of course, not all of the subject is likely to be in focus. This is where Macro photography comes into its own. Not to mention "manual", selective focusing. So you need to look at your subject and choose the part that you would like to be in focus, set your aperture on the smallest possible setting (largest number) permissable, and work on that.
Concentrate on the eyes and face of small creatures and the petals and/or stamens of flowers.
Take a look at close-up photography done by pros in magazines, galleries and cookery books. That will show you how narrow DOF is used to advantage.

- Creative Use Of Depth Of Field -
You can be very creative using DOF.
For example, try photographing someone like a butcher in his butcher's uniform, cleaver in hand, proudly standing outside his shop.
To use your DOF creatively, have your butcher clear and sharp, as he will be the main subject. Also, in the background and slightly out of focus, his place of business. In other words, show the butcher as the main subject, with a not quite so prominent background. Try two or three shots at varying F-stops. Say, f5.6, f8 and f11. With the background a little out of focus, the eye of the viewer will go straight to the butcher, which is your main aim, as he is the centre of interest.

This sort of shot tells a story, because it portrays an individual and his place of business. A Social Documentary, I guess you would call it.
You could do much the same thing by photographing your child in his/her bedroom, although by the state of some kids' bedrooms, you'd probably say, "No way!" But I think by now you get the message.
"Here's another bright idea!" . . .

If you intend to utilise overhanging branches, etc., as framing in the foreground of your picture, be sure that they are relevant to the subject. The correct type of framing can really make an image, but bad framing will have the opposite effect!