Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Depth of Field in Less Than Five Minutes

It is one of the terms used a lot in photography and if you don’t have a handle on it, it can seem intimidating Depth of Field (or DoF for short).

Let me share a couple of photographs and some quick DSLR suggestions that will give you a handle on this ‘minefield’ really fast. These tips should work with your own camera and let you do some useful practice if you are a beginner. Familiarity = Confidence.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Foreground and background are blurred. Toulouse is in sharp focus.

When you gain a little confidence and you feel ready, read a bit deeper if you want to. I have added a ‘next step’ link for later at the end of the post!

What is Depth of Field?

Let me give you a quick technical definition from a site I like, Photography Life:

Depth of field is the distance between the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appears acceptably sharp.

If your DoF is shallow, like this photograph of Toulouse, then it is focused around his head from his muzzle and cheek and forehead.

This is a narrow area (or layer if this helps) but it works perfectly to capture his fur texture and, critically, his sharp eye. The f-stop was f5 at the top end of the shallow range. This kind of setting is fantastic for a cat (or a doggy) closeup that focuses on your pet not the background.

Cat Posing outside in the summer sun
Large F-Stop – f5

If your DoF is deep with an f-stop of f15/f22 then from your toes to the distant edge of a room or garden is all in clear and sharp focus. This is definitely more a landscape setting, or capturing cats in an environment like a garden or catio, or a pet walking on a beach or in the snow.

See what I mean with this lovely landscape of the New Zealand coast? You need the distant hills to be sharp as well as the beautifully textured rocks for picture postcard quality.

Landescape Shot of the Makara Coast in New Zealand.
Makara Coast, NZ F/16

Depth of Field Infographic

Graphic explaining depth of field

Detailed Explanation for Depth of Field

If you want to do more detailed reading and become confident about Depth of Field, this link is a good starting point.

10 thoughts on “Depth of Field in Less Than Five Minutes”

  1. This was such a great, simple explanation – thank you! I love that Infographic. It’s so helpful, I’m going to Pin it.

  2. Terrific walk-through on explaining depth of field. Learning how to use Dof correctly can certainly yield some amazing photos! I will have to practice Dof with Henry in the snow. That should be an easy focus. I just LOVE the photo of Toulouse! Such a handsome boy! I’m sharing this with all my pet parents. Look out for great Dof pet pics! 😉

  3. Thanks for explaining that to me, I need so much info, and repeatedly to make it stick into my brain, LOL!


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