#FridayFocus - Compositional Techniques at Pamphill, Dorset

The first of my live instructional video series, #FridayFocus.  Like my Facebook page to be notified of future episodes.

Effects of Focal Length and Depth of Field on Composition

I ran short of time during my live video as the light was fading and I wanted to get my shots in.  But I decided to go back the next day to illustrate how focal length and depth of field can be used to achieve a different composition.

Focal Length

I spend most of my time using a wide-angle lens so I can capture as much of the scene as possible.  However, when photographing areas carpeted with flowers, you want to be able to convey that message to the viewer.  A wide-angle lens will exaggerate the space between the flowers so it isn't always the best choice to go for.  Using a longer focal length will help to compress the space instead, making the flowers appear closer together.  The images below help to demonstrate this point.  The focal length that image was shot at is in the caption below the image.

Click/tap to enlarge:




The last image would have been better if I used a shallow depth of field.  Read on to see why.

Depth of Field

As mentioned in my live video (above), one of the challenges a photographer faces is making a 2-dimensional medium look 3-dimensional.  One of the many tools at a photographer's disposal to help us achieve this is a good knowledge of depth of field.  By forcing the foreground or background out of focus by either not focusing at the hyperfocal distance or using a wide aperture (smaller f/ number or stop) will give the image a sense of depth as demonstrated in the following images.  Each image was shot at 200mm.

Click to enlarge:

A wide aperture can also be used to get right in amongst the flowers and focus on the details.  All of these images were shot at f/2.8.

I hope you found this blog useful.  I'd love to hear from you.