Photography Depth Of Field Assignment

I’m not sure if I’ve conveyed how much I love this photo series, so let me say it now… I LOVE IT!!! And have I mentioned it’s free? Amazing!

My first two posts documented my experiences learning about the roles of shutter speed and ISO in the photo exposure process. The third and final exercise in the introductory section of the 31 Days to a Better Photo series focuses on depth of field… Get it? Pun was totally not intended, honestly.

For this assignment my subject was a thrilling and wildly exciting fence post. Let’s dig in, shall we.

The assignment…

1. Set camera to aperture priority mode
2. Open the aperture fully and take a pic
3. Move to the next largest aperture and take a pic

Note: it is recommended to do this exercise using a tripod so the subject remains on the same plain for reach shot.

Note Note: I didn’t use a tripod ūüôā But, I did brace myself on the large pillar at the end of the fence. Would that be called a human tripod?

The test shots…

F/3.5 (the largest aperture setting on my kit lens),1/1600 sec, ISO 200

F/4, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200

F/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 200

F/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

F/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 200

F/16, 1/100 sec, ISO 200

F/22, 1/60 sec, ISO 250

Final thoughts…

Though my kit lens doesn’t stop down to an extremely large aperture, it does produce a nice background blur (or bokeh as I’ve recently learned). I really like the bokeh at the larger apertures. Then, as my aperture got smaller more of the background came into focus until F/22 where everything in the image is pretty well in focus. It was also interesting to see the shutter speed slow down by almost half in most of the photos as the aperture got smaller, while the ISO remained constant until the final photo where it increased slightly.

Depth of field is a new concept to me. Having always used a point and shoot camera, I have never been able to achieve this look in my photos. Since getting my camera last year, I’ve played with depth of field a LOT, perhaps too much, but oh well.

Next, we learn about exposure compensation and in-camera metering. Two things I know absolutely nothing about. Then, I think we’re given a little solo assignment where we have to go out and shoot some stuff using what we’ve learned in manual mode.

Until next time…

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Posted in 31 Day Photo Series and tagged Blogging, Bokeh, Depth of field, ISO, Photography, shutter speed on by Shane Francescut. Leave a comment

Starting this week, I am going to be posting a weekly assignment, here, and on my facebook page.

This week’s assignment will be to understand depth of field, and how just changing aperture settings can change the perspective / DoF in our pictures.

What I want you to do in this photography assignment:

You will click and upload twophotos (read again – “click” and upload – so no digging through your photo libraries) as part of this assignment.

The photos can be of any subject that is about 2 to 4 feet away from your camera. ¬†It’s the weekend, so go out in the open and do this exercise. ¬†The background should be very far from the subject – Something that’s more than 100 feet or more.

While I recommend using a tripod for this shot, it is not important.  It will help, however, in a frame to frame comparison later.

How will you shoot the photography assignment

For your first picture, using a focal length of anywhere between 50 to 70 mm, ¬†focus on the subject and click with your aperture setting as wide open as your lens permits. ¬†It doesn’t matter if you are shooting at f/1.2 or f/5.6 : ¬†What matters is that this setting is the widest possible aperture for your lens at this focal length.

Now, for the second shot, there are only two things you will change.  Aperture, and Shutter Speed.  Since this assignment is to explain depth of field, you will change the aperture on your lens and close it down to the maximum possible limit.  For some lenses, it might be f/16, for others may be f/22 or f/30 .  Whatever the shortest possible value, choose that.  If you are shooting in full manual mode,  change the shutter speed to allow sufficient light for a proper exposure.

Remember, in both these pictures your exposure key should be dead center, so that your camera takes a consistent exposure in both settings.  The focal point and view should remain consistent through both these pictures.

Here is how the two pictures will and should look like.

Submitting your photography assignment

Once you have clicked the pictures, please send them to me on a private message on facebook, from my profile or my facebook page.

Make sure you mention the f/stop value for each of the picture when you send it to me.

I will upload them here, and we will then start comparing notes and discuss everyone’s pictures in the common forum.

Cheat sheet for this photography assignment

In case you have any issues taking the pictures (especially for beginners), here is the neat little trick –¬†Set your camera in Av (for Canon) and A(for Nikon) mode, and select the smallest possible number for the first photo, and the highest possible number for the 2nd photo. ¬†Let your camera do the rest itself.

In case you do not use a DSLR, you can still do this assignment, here’s how:-

Set your camera in PORTRAIT mode, and use a 2x zoom, which should set your lens capacity to a wide open format.  Once you have taken the picture, go to LANDSCAPE mode and take the 2nd picture, but remember to focus on the same subject/object as in the first one.


Here’s hoping that this helps you understand the concepts in a greater detail. ¬†Next week, another assignment.

Happy shooting, let me know how it goes in the comments below.


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