Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Depth of Field: A Major Player in Creative Control

Depth of Field: A Major Player in Creative Control

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Depth of Field: A Major Player in Creative Control

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 10:48 PM PST

Final Reminder: Only 1 day left! in the deal on this: New Depth of Field eBook

When you hear the phrase Depth of Field (also called DOF) you may wonder why you should care as long as your pictures are in focus. Well since DOF is generally referred to as the range of a pictures over all sharpness; and most people are instinctively drawn to the sharpest part of the picture first, I would say that it is indeed a major player in the game of creative control.

photography depth of field

“groom portrait” captured by Tatiana Garanina (Click Image to See More From Tatiana Garanina)

Most articles or books you will read on this subject immediately jump into talking about f-stops. These are numbers like f-1.4 to say f-22 that represent how much light the aperture is letting into the camera. Although I will explain that more in detail in a few minutes, it is not where I want to start.

3 basic things that affect DOF:

  1. the lens aperture (f-stops)
  2. the lens focal length (the size like: 35mm vs. 200mm)
  3. the subject difference (how far it is from the camera)

Keep in mind that most digital cameras do not have f-stops as per say. In fact if you have a straight point and shoot camera with a set lens, it may feel like you have no control at all. Although it does take a little more effort there are still things you can do to enhance your Depth of Field experience.

Both the point and shoot and even many of the more advance digital cameras are based on a false premise. They assume that all people want all their pictures, all the way in focus, all the time. "Now wait a minute", you may be saying to yourself. "Of course I want my pictures in focus, don't I?"

When we say in focus, we are not talking about the results of a 110 year old lady who can not hold the camera steady. Depending on where you focus in any given picture; so much in front of the subject and so much behind the subject will also be in focus. Generally, more will be in focus behind the subject than in front of it. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your focus point; you may want to focus about 1/3 of the way into your scenic shot as opposed to automatically focusing ½ the way in to the scene.

Photo captured by franklin dilone (click image to see more from franklin dilone)

Photo captured by franklin dilone (click image to see more from franklin dilone)

There are several really good reasons for wanting to choose a narrow DOF verses a wide DOF. Remember Wide DOF means everything in focus all the time. For those who are not quote "into" photography then this mode will indeed satisfy their needs 90% of the time. But for the rest of us; here are some examples of when you may NOT want to shoot that way.

A) Portraits: focus on the person and blur the background. This is helpful when there are distracting elements behind the subject.

B) At the zoo: focus on only one animal. The idea here is to obscure the fact that you actually took the picture in the zoo. You want to make it look like you took this animal in its own natural environment.

C) Flower shots: focus on one flower or better yet even just part of a flower and let the others around it become like a painted background.

flower depth of field photo

“HBW” captured by fady (Click Image to See More From fady)

D) Sporting Events: focus in on the one who crossed the line first, or jumped the highest. Separate the leader from the pack by using creative DOF.

Back to the basic problem, how exactly do we control Depth of Field? Shooting an object that is 10 feet from the camera will have a much smaller DOF range than shooting an object 100 feet away. So, move in closer!!

If your camera has a zoom lens ( say 35mm -200mm) the smaller the size, the wider depth of field. Most set lens are in the range of 28mm – 38mm, so there is less to adjust, less to think about, and unfortunately less control. However, even without getting into the f-stops; if you photograph someone with using the 35mm end of the scale a lot will be in focus, but if you do the same using the 200mm length of your lens much less of the total image will in sharp focus.

If you are into doing close-up photography (flowers, insects, etc) the close-focus or macro mode of your camera will already give you a fairly narrow amount of depth of field. But you can push that even further by considering the use of filters. Most cameras, will now accept filters. But even if yours does not (set lens again); you can actually hold the filter in place and shoot. Close up filters allow you to shoot much closer than the lens will by itself. They also usually narrow the depth of field and require a little more light.

depth of field portrait

“Urban Cowboy” captured by Luis A. De Jesus (Click Image to See More From Luis A. De Jesus)

Many of today's cameras have more than one auto mode. In a fully automatic camera you have not gained much if any control, but if you have the option for Aperture priority or Shutter Priority you are back in the driver's seat. Basically put: Aperture Priority means that you control the aperture (or f-stop) and the camera picks the right shutter speed to get a proper exposure. Conversely, Shutter Priority does the exact opposite, you control the speed and it will pick the correct aperture for the given light conditions.

Now we will mention the world of f-stops. The words aperture and f-stop are referring to the same thing. I have absolutely no idea why we don't call them A-stops, but just so I don't confuse anybody, I will call them f-stops. The f-stop controls how much light enters the camera. Many books and magazine confuse people by referring to how big the opening is and how small the depth of field is. In my world, I like to keep things as simple as possible.

A small number (like f-1.4) means only a small amount will be in sharp focus. A large number (like f-22) means a large amount will be in sharp focus. To me, that is a whole lot easier to remember than the way many people explain it. Small number = small amount in focus, and large number = large amount.

But wait, you're saying to yourself, "I don't even have an aperture mode." Maybe you do, and don't realize it. If you're camera has little pictures or icons on it like, many cameras do, you may have more control than you realized. The picture of the small head means portrait mode. (IE the subject will be in sharp focus but the background will not) The picture of the little mountain means landscape mode. (IE most of the picture will be in sharp focus from front to back.)

narrow focus depth of field

“greensleeves” captured by Shery Han (Click Image to See More From Shery Han)

Remembering that most people are attracted to the thing that is in the sharpest focus, it becomes very hard (visually) to be attracted if the entire picture is in complete focus. There is nothing specific to draw the viewers' attention. By using the creative possibilities that depth of field offers; no matter what kind of camera you have, your images will be much more powerful and interesting.

About the Author:
Award winning writer / photographer Tedric Garrison has 30 years experience in photography ( As a Graphic Art Major, he has a unique perspective. His photo eBook "Your Creative Edge" proves creativity can be taught. Today, he shares his wealth of knowledge with the world through his website.

For Further Training, Deal Ending Soon:

This new eBook  is designed to equip photographers with the skills to improve their ability to create bokeh rich images but at the same time ensure the subject is as sharp as possible and master depth of field. We were able to arrange a 20% discount – only 1 day left!

Deal found here: Shooting Shallow – Understanding Depth of Field

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Canon Announces the Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 09:14 PM PST

Ideal for Entry-level Digital SLR Users, the New EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera Helps Users Confidently Capture Outstanding Still and Video Images

MELVILLE, N.Y., February 11, 2014 – Today Canon introduced the EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera – the latest model in the company’s popular EOS Rebel lineup. The new camera provides entry-level photographers with an affordable way to take their imaging skills to the next level. Incorporating an 18.0 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) image sensor and a high-performance DIGIC 4 image processor, it delivers improved functionality with the speed and high quality needed to create impressive images – even in low light. Amazon Has Started Accepting Pre-Orders Here

Canon Rebel T5

Canon Rebel T5

The new EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR camera offers users an extensive ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 12800) to accommodate shooting situations from bright, natural outdoor lighting to dimly lit indoor settings. The camera can also automatically lock-in on moving subjects with ease using the EOS Rebel T5 camera’s nine-point AF system (including one center cross-type AF point). With help from the AI Servo AF, users can benefit from the camera’s outstanding autofocus capabilities. The new EOS Rebel T5 camera also offers a continuous shooting mode of up-to three frames per second (fps) to help photographers capture the action at children’s activities, sporting events and more. Images can then be easily viewed on the camera’s large three-inch LCD monitor.

“The EOS Rebel T5 camera is designed for entry-level DSLR photographers looking to expand their creative options and advance their photography skills,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “The improved functionality of this new EOS Rebel camera will help them do just that as it intelligently guides users on how to pinpoint their perfect shot and capture high-quality images and videos worth sharing.”

Detailed, High-Quality Images

Photo enthusiasts can capture high-quality images that are true-to-life in color, sharpness and contrast with the EOS Rebel T5 camera’s 18.0 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) image sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor. Shooting is also made easy thanks to the EOS Rebel T5 camera’s Intelligent Auto mode that helps deliver expertly optimized photos and offers improved scene detection, especially useful for shooting at night.

The Canon Rebel EOS Rebel T5 camera is also compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses as well as other accessories like the new Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II. Ideal for close-up photography with EF Macro lenses, the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II supports E-TTL wireless autoflash in conjunction with one or more Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash units.

Full HD Video Capture

The camera’s Full HD Movie mode helps make shooting high-quality 1080p movies simple. Capable of shooting in a number of recording sizes and frame rates, the EOS Rebel T5 enables easy manual control of exposure, focus and Live View features, as well as in-camera editing.

Intuitive Design and Full Creative Control

The new EOS Rebel T5 camera offers a full creative feature set – providing a variety of effects and settings to enhance photographs and video. Whether adding contrast for a more dramatic effect or boosting exposure for additional brightness, Canon’s EOS Rebel T5 camera will guide users on how to hone their photo editing skills and view their original photographs from a new visual perspective. The camera features fun, creative filters including Toy Camera, Fisheye and Miniature Effect enabling photographers to expand their creativity.

The EOS lineup is known for its easy-to-operate, intuitive camera models that deliver high-quality images. Canon’s latest DSLR camera offers advanced imaging features such as Basic+ and Creative Auto to direct entry-level photo enthusiasts through making camera setting adjustments. The camera’s built-in Feature Guide offers short descriptions of shooting modes, setting and effects for easy operation no matter what the shooting situation. This function is designed to guide and educate first-time users on the EOS camera settings, and will also intelligently provide recommendations while shooting in certain settings.


The Canon EOS Rebel T5 bundled with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens is scheduled to be available in March for an estimated retail price of $549.99. Amazon Pre-Orders Here

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Aviation Photographer: The Coolest Job Ever (Video)

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 02:23 PM PST

So, I had every intention of watching this new video and writing an informative, inspired article relating to aviation photography. But I was so inspired, in fact, that I may give up writing entirely and follow in my new hero’s footsteps, so this could very well be my letter of resignation.

Check out this video about pilot and aviation photographer Jessica Ambats to see what I’m talking about, and prepare to be blown away:

OK, resignation aside, I’m serious about Jessica Ambats being my new hero. How amazing is it that she can take photography and flying and combine them to make up one of the coolest jobs imaginable?

Jessica’s job is air-to-air photography, a risky, rush-inducing kind of aerial photography that requires shooting from a photoship, which is really just a killer name for a plane with no doors.

jessica ambats

Battling the cold, high winds, noise, and crazy conditions that come along with being at the mercy of the elements–not to mention gravity–in a high-flying airplane, is apparently worth it. With nothing but a harness holding her in, Jessica sits next to the open door and shoots planes and pilots as they fly next to her — I mean, right next to her, sometimes as close as 20 feet away!

aerial photography

Photography is already an incredibly creative and inspiring profession and hobby, but imagine being able to shoot something you love, something so breathtaking and intense and adrenaline-pumping, every day. That’s what Jessica does, and she loves it. Rightfully so.

“My goal is to capture the beauty of flight; what makes air-to-air photography different is you’re up there with this flying machine in its element, watching an awesome pilot as your wingman. I’ve got the best seat at my own personal air show.”

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Golden Hour At Its Finest

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 12:09 PM PST

Golden hour is the time of day that occurs just before sunrise and sunset. At these hours, the sun is at such an angle with the earth that it produces a soft, glowing, golden light. It is generally regarded as the ideal time to photograph outdoors. The golden hour is a fundamental aspect of lighting in photography that is, or should be, taught to photography students very early in their education:

Sunset at Evergreen Mountain Lookout (Via 500px. Click for larger size.)

In the stunning photo above, photographer Michael Matti embraced the perfect light. He took this photo of a mountainscape as the sun cast cloud-diffused golden rays of light through the trees. The result is a dramatic photograph that offers colors that wouldn’t be present during other times of the day.

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Giving the Gift of Photography to Isolated Reindeer Herders in Russia (Video)

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 11:07 AM PST

Hailing from Moldova, a small Soviet republic marked by rampant poverty, human trafficking, and alcoholism, photographer Sasha Leahovenco brings an innate sense of compassion to his work and seeks to use his skill and means to better the lives of those around him—and even those who are worlds away.

The following video documents Leahovenco’s recent trip through deeply remote areas in Chukotka, Russia where he photographed some of the most isolated people in the world, none of whom had ever had their picture taken:

Leahovenco began his travels in Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka, photographing people in hospitals and homes, and eventually journeyed deep into the tundra, where conditions are so harsh that only small tribes of reindeer herders brave them. Each person photographed received prints of their portraits and Leahovenco reveled in their delight, forgetting his frostbitten fingers.

reindeer herder russia sasha leahovenco help-portrait

One of Leahovenco’s major goals was to photograph the reindeer herders in their everyday lives.


Leahovenco loved seeing the looks on his portrait recipients’ faces.

The Chukotka trip was a product of Leahovenco’s involvement with Help-Portrait, a community of photographers who seek out isolated or impoverished people who cannot afford or access a professional photographer, take their portraits, and deliver prints free of charge. Leahovenco is well-known among their ranks, having given the gift of photography to countless deserving souls throughout Nigeria, Haiti, California, and Russia during his various projects.

At TEDxChisinau, Leahovenco delivered a inspiring speech about living a life of influence through selfless generosity by using “whatever you have in your hand.” For Leahovenco, that’s a camera, but it can be anything—any resource that can in some way be gifted to another.

“What would the future look like if everybody would use what they [have] in their hand in order to help people and influence people?” Leahovenco asked. “You don’t need to have a title. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. or anything like that to be a person of influence. If you are breathing, you are an influencer, and my hope for everyone is [for you] to discover what you are good at, what you love to do, and [that you would use that to] influence people around this world.”

Beyond charity, Leahovenco runs a wedding photography business, which is based in San Francisco, California. He is also an acclaimed martial artist, having proven his mettle in Taekwondo by making the National Team at age 12 and winning the gold medal in his age category, and later by winning numerous awards in European and World tournaments.

“I believe this life is not about what we can get, but what we can give.”

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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