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Depth of Field

The last concept I want to illustrate in this chapter is one of the most important: depth of field. This determines which parts of the image are in focus. Focus, more than any other element aside from movement, determines where the eye will look first.

At the beginning of this chapter, when I listed the Six Priorities, focus was second. Our eye goes to that which is in focus, regardless of where it is located in the frame. Focus, when you can control it, is a great way to make sure the eye sees the subject you want it to see.

There are two types of depth of field: deep and shallow. Deep depth of field allows almost all of the image to be in focus, while shallow means that only a limited portion of the image is in focus.

FigureS 2.37 and 2.38 illustrate the differences between deep and shallow depth of field. We use depth of field to draw the eye to the important elements in an image. In Figure 2.38, the photographer focused on her face. She could just as easily have put the sparklers in focus, with everything else soft. But, she chose to focus on her smile, rather than what was making her smile.


FIGURE 2.37 This illustrates deep depth of field. Almost everything in this image is in focus. Most cell phones take this type of shot. (Image Credit:


FIGURE 2.38 In this shot, the depth of field is so shallow that only her face is in focus. Both the sparklers and the background are soft. (Image Credit: Renato Abati /

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