Day 2 Por­traits Field ex­er­cises

For shots with real im­pact, you need con­trol of what’s blurred and what’s sharp. It’s all about the depth of field…

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on’t ever for­get this! A lens can only ever fo­cus pre­cisely on one dis­tance at a time, and so what­so­ever you do only one point (or plane) is per­fectly sharp. In prac­tice, thank­fully, more of your pic­ture looks sharp be­cause of a an op­ti­cal prin­ci­ple known as depth of field.

Con­trol­ling depth of field is one of the key skills that any sharp­shooter needs to mas­ter, be­cause it en­ables you to de­cide which bits are in fo­cus. Just as im­por­tantly, you need to learn to use depth of field to con­trol what is blurred. Op­ti­cal blur is what dis­tin­guishes SLR pho­tog­ra­phy from shoot­ing with a com­pact cam­era or cell­phone, as it gives you the power to de­fo­cus whole zones of your im­age.

The key con­trol for depth of field is aper­ture, which you can eas­ily al­ter in A, S, P or M ex­po­sure modes. But you need to learn that aper­ture alone is not enough. Use your cam­era po­si­tion and the fo­cal length of your lens to be­come a mas­ter of this es­sen­tial field­craft.

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