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Nikon D600 For Dummies by Julie Adair King

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Manipulating Depth of Field

Getting familiar with the concept of depth of field is one of the biggest steps you can take to becoming a more artful photographer. I introduce you to depth of field in Chapters 3 and 7, but here's a quick recap:

  • Depth of field refers to the distance over which objects in a photograph appear acceptably sharp.
  • With a shallow, or small, depth of field, distant objects appear more softly focused than the main subject (assuming that you set focus on the main subject, of course).
  • With a large depth of field, the zone of sharp focus extends to include objects at a distance both in front of and behind your subject.

    images

    Figure 8-16: A shallow depth of field blurs the background and draws added attention to the subject.

Which arrangement works best depends on your creative vision. In portraits, for example, a classic technique is to use a short depth of field, as I did for the photo in Figure 8-16. This approach draws the eye to the subject — because whatever is sharpest is the first thing viewers notice — while diminishing the background. For the photo shown in Figure 8-17, though, I wanted to emphasize that the foreground figures were in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, so I used a large depth of field, keeping the background buildings sharply focused and giving them equal weight in the scene.

Figure 8-17: A large depth of field keeps both foreground and background ...

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