Sunday, November 27, 2011

Focusing Basics

In photography, learning how to focus properly has an impact on the way the photo is delivered. It is as important as learning the basics of composition, because this aspect of photography works synchronously with composition. Focusing enables the photographer to isolate the subject with the use of depth of field.

Aperture controls the depth of field, which in turn controls how much of the subject stay in focus. This is particularly useful when emphasizing or isolating the subject in cluttered areas. The area covered by the depth of field or the area that will be in focus, broadens as the aperture value increases. Thus, allowing the photographer to have more parts of the subject in focus.

Depth of field chart using a 50mm focal length
The DOF chart shows how much area is in focus when using different apertures at a fixed focal length.

Another factor that affects depth of field is focal length. A wider focal length has a wider depth of field, increase the focal length and the depth of field becomes narrower. But keep in mind that, focal length only lessens the depth of field of the current aperture setting. The main setting that controls the depth of field is still aperture.


Combining the focal length and aperture controls the depth of field. This controls the objects that are included in the subject and the main point of focus. Thus, allowing the photographer to compose the photo according to his preference.

You can also try the depth of field calculator found at

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