Depth in photography is one of the most vital concepts in photography. Depth in photography refers to the difference in the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects in the image or photograph that appears sharp. Simply, the area in the image appears sharper than the others. It is the object in focus. Your ability to control the depth of the field is one of the most powerful skills you can possess. It helps you direct the viewer's attention to the main subject of the image, and the background acts as a complement to the subject.
Depth of the field in photography occurs as a result of something physicians call the circle of confusion. The objects in front or at the back gradually lose their sharpness. It happens to our eyes as it happens to the camera. It would be correct to see our eyes are similar to the cameras in operation. Depth of the field is caused by the type of camera, aperture, and focal length. Moreover, the print size and the distance from the eye can cause this.
Tips on how you can create depth in photography
Photography is a powerful way of telling stories to your audience. For you to perfect your story, your photos should be detailed. And depth is one way of adding details to your images. Depth can be used to show meaning and intention. Unlike your eyes, a camera only sees things in two dimensions, and depth is created when there is a three-dimensional feeling in a photograph. So, you need some skills to achieve the 3D feature in your photos. Here are the tips:
1. Using leading lines
To get the depth, we use leading lines. Lines create a sense of movement from near to furthest. They are mainly used to attract and lead the eye to a specific object in the picture. Curves and meandering also effectively create dimension in a photo. Leading lines are mainly used in landscape and architectural images. To use leading lines in your photography, here are the steps you should follow;
Step 1: Assess location and time of the day; what is your environment? Is it nature or the streets? What is the position of the sun? The sun's rays can cast shadows which you can use as your leading lines.
Step 2: Look for any natural lines around you; these can be any natural thing or even human-made structures that can be framed in the photo to act as leading lines.
Step 3: Decide which focal point to use; you can have many choices to use as leading lines. Decide which to use based on which serves you most. You might be using aligned trees or electric posts; you have to line them up; unless you choose a good focal point, they will confuse your audience.
Step 4: Consider the environment's lighting; have in mind that leading lines can never heal an over-exposed or under-exposed image. So, adjust your aperture and shutter speed accordingly.
Step 5: Have many takes; give yourself a variety of shots to choose the best. Have different camera angles and settings for every shot, and choose your best from them.
2. Using framing
This involves using one or more elements to surround the primary object or the object of focus. This helps to direct the eye towards it. When shooting, preferably using a wide-angle lens, bring the frame to the foreground. Let the primary object be in the middle and act as the background. If you are looking forward to having stunning frames in photography, follow the steps below:
Step 1: look for different options you have at your exposure to shoot through natural features surrounding your subject.
Step 2: After finding the most suitable option for your subject, shoot your subject first without the frame and then shoot another with the subject within the frame.
Step 3: when shooting, focus on your subject, not the frame.
Step 4: during the shooting, ensure that the frame is not brighter than your subject.
3. Use the rule of thirds
Think of three things; the foreground, the middle ground, and the background. They will effectively bring out the depth in a photo very effectively. For this to be effective, the images in the photo should complement each other but are different. For example, shooting a photo of your friend at the shore. The beach can act as the foreground, the friend as the middle ground, and a ship in the ocean as the background. Follow these steps to perfect the rule of thirds.
Step 1: Choose your area of interest in the photograph
Step 2: look for natural features around that can complement your subject
Step 3: look for a suitable position where you can capture all the fields, the foreground, middle ground, and the background.
Step 4: make sure that your subject is the clearest object in the photograph.
4. Use of the aerial perspective
Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash
This means using the disadvantage to your advantage in photographs. Using the hindrance of success as the way to succeed. Bad weather (snow, fog, and rain), smoke, smog, and dust are great settings to have field depth in photos. They add particles to the air that reflect the right and make it hard to have a clear image. The objects in front will appear to be most clear, followed by those in their midst. The elements in the background are less clear. This brings differences in saturation and tone hence a good way to differentiate the three grounds of the photo. Follow these steps-to-step guide on how to do it;
Step 1: make sure you have been damping or drizzly with the cloudy or misty weather conditions.
Step 2: Choose a suitable location; for example, a hilly background is very interesting. But this should not limit you to only hilly ground; photography is all about trying out.
Step 3: make sure that you are shooting towards the light or the weather. Have a good angle.
Step 4: remember to avoid over-exposure to maintain an ethereal light feeling.
5. Shooting through the front ground
Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash
It means shooting through the foreground object. All of the techniques above work well with the wide-angle lens. Shooting through the foreground is among the few techniques that work well with telephoto lenses. Telephoto lenses only capture the distance between the photographer and the object, making it hard to achieve depth. To take this to practice, follow the guide below:
Step 1: Choose your subject of focus
Step 2: choose the best position to take your shot. Make sure the foreground item adds pop color to your photo.
Step 3: Hold your camera close to the foreground object and use a wide aperture to take the shot when taking the shot.
6. Selective focus on the objects
Photo by Pedro Mealha on Unsplash
The selective focus is deliberately focusing only on the subject using a wide aperture. The technique produces a blurred background of the subject. The blurred background helps separate the main subject from the other objects in the image. It creates a 3D image. It is especially effective with portraits. Here are steps you can use to achieve selective focus;
Step 1: Select a focal point; make up your mind on the photo's subject you want to focus on.
Step 2: Focus mode; give instruction to your camera on which part of the subject it should focus on.
Step 3: Use a wide focus by setting the camera manually.
Step 4: Blur the background; choose how much you will blur your background. You can opt to blur the background so it will appear as a solid color.
Step 5: Use a wide aperture; an aperture of about f/2.8 will give you a shallow depth.
7. Use different colors
Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash
When you use the selective focus technique discussed above, you will notice that the background that is out of focus will merge the object's color in focus. If the colors are arranged critically, great contrast can be achieved between the background and the foreground. To put this into practice;
Step 1: Change the flashlight color to one with an orange color but surrounded by a greyish color.
Step 2: When shooting, make sure that the orange light goes to the face of the subject while the grey surrounds the subject. This is by choosing the right focal length.
The subject will be hot in the results, while the background is cold.
8. Use of different points of view
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash
Angling the camera can lead to unique and interesting images. It dramatically alters the depth of the photo. Angling of the camera is fun and gives converging lines to the photo. To put this in practice, follow these steps;
Step 1: Choose your subject of focus.
Step 2: choose the best position. It should be a position where your main object of focus is most clear.
Step 3: choose the most suitable angle. You have to sample different angles to choose the best. In most cases, the low angle is most favorable.
Step 4: make sure all the grounds are included in your angle, but your main subject is the clearest.
Step 5: adjust your camera settings accordingly and take your shot.
9. Using repetition in the photograph
It refers to using an identical feature or object in the photograph. The object must be running from the foreground to the background. The size of the objects gradually decreases as you move from the foreground to the background. Here are the steps you can follow:
Step 1: look for the same feature in the linear environment.
Step 2: choose the best position that the objects will be in line and clear.
Step 3: adjust your camera settings and take your shots.
10. Using vanishing points in the photograph
Is applicable when the two parallel lines are running through the photo. The lines can be created by a street or two fences. Vanishing points not only create depth but also are a compelling design element. The space between them virtually reduces as the lines run deep into the photo and appear to converge at vanishing points. The lines are furthest apart in the foreground, and in the background, they converge. The steps to be followed are as follows:
Step 1: spot the best position for the photo; this should be between two natural lines.
Step 2: place your subject in the middle of the two lines
Step 3: Choose a wide aperture and shoot your photo.
11. Using different lights to light the subject
It happens during shooting. You use the three-lighting system to light the subject. It is common in studios. The key light is the strongest; you place it in front of the subject. It lights up the subject and casts a shadow at the back. To bring in front the subject from the background, you use filler light, which is not as strong as the key light. It creates different tones and saturations in the photo. The following steps are followed;
Step 1: install the brightest light at 45 degrees toward the subject.
Step 2: install a filler light at 45 degrees opposite the key light. It should be weaker than the key light to remove shadows caused by it.
Step 3: install a backlight perpendicularly to the subject back to separate it from the background.
Step 4: set your camera and avoid overexposure.
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