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Photography tip #1 – depth of field

Photography techniques can make or break an image and when it’s for a specific purpose, there are certain skills that are simple but effective.

One of these is depth of field.

A narrow depth of field means there is only a small amount of the image that is in focus. The depth of field creates a three dimensional appearance when the prime subject is the sharpest, most in-focus part of the image.

The easiest way to achieve this is with a telephoto lens and a low f-stop. This image, for example, was shot with a 70 – 200mm lens with an f-stop of 5.6. The higher the f-stop number, more of the picture will be in focus. The sharper or more in focus the background in this instance, the harder it will be for the artwork overlay to be seen.

If you are lacking a lens of any length beyond 80mm, you can manipulate an image in photoshop later, although this can be tedious and not as effective as shooting it correctly the first time.

This picture came about whenI spent a few hours at St Columba College shooting bespoke images for an up-coming campaign to promote their Open Day.

The College’s Marketing Manager Paul Charles and I discussed the concept and explored the options for the shoot. There was also video being shot at the same time, so continuity between the stills and video was crucial.

This is the first of the images to see the light of day. The concept of the drawing on the image works well in this image and certainly a shallow depth of field was as important as having a dark background so the artwork could be seen against it.

The other factor to consider was the positioning of the subject to allow for the text in post production. This was also worked out in collaboration with Paul before the shoot, then checking the results as we went.

While there was general consensus about the look being sought, I still shot slight variations such as wider and framing the subject between the centre of the frame and the left of the frame.

Importantly, the client was wrapped with the result.

The original image

The original image

How it looks on the College website banner

How it looks on the College website banner

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