Welcome to Week 5 of the Pet Photography Project 52! This week our focus is Depth of Field. Depth of Field can be a photographer’s dream… or the bane of our existence, lol. Seriously, DOF is what gives us that beautiful creamy, blurry background that makes our subject pop right off the image… or it can be why we trash an otherwise gorgeous image but the focus falls on the hair in front of the eyes and suddenly the eye is completely out of focus.

DOF can be a great way to filter out a busy background. Jessie here is crisp and the distractions of so many people blur into the background.

This photo of Felix was just slightly off. The ugly concrete and messy pine straw are pretty blurred out, but if you look close, my focus actually hit the fur on the bridge between his eyes instead of exactly on an eye.

And here’s another one where the focus isn’t on the eye, but this time on purpose. Here the focus is on that big crazy wire-hair surrounded puppy dog happy goofy grin! DOF can help us tell the story and direct our viewer to what we want you to see, which for me in this photo is that slightly deliriously happy puppy spit bubble and all.

In this last one we can talk a little about how DOF is created. A combination a aperture (a camera setting that adjusts how wide the opening in the lens is, also called an F-Stop) and how far your subject is from the background. This can be a little confusing because a small aperture (say F1.8) equals a larger opening and more light… and a shallower depth of field (or less of image in focus) while a large aperture (say F8) means a smaller opening and less light and a deeper depth of field (or more in focus). As a photographer we need to understand how the three pieces of the exposure triangle work together to get an image that is exposed correctly (not too dark or too light). Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together.

So if I want Lisa & Penny both in focus I should get a bigger aperture (like F5.6) which means a smaller lens opening and less light, so I need to raise my ISO (light sensitivity) or lower my shutter speed (so it’s slower letting in more light).


What do you think? Too technical, or do you like seeing little behind the scenes about how the camera works?


The Pet Photography Project 52 posts are part of a blog circle. To see what the next pet photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Depth of Field,” head over to KME Photography in Minneapolis, MN. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle and you’ll eventually find your way back here.