Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)

Let's cover a little bit of territory just for a short period of time that we've already covered, just to review material. So when you're looking at your photos and you're evaluating them, you want them to be sharp. There's a lot of reasons why they might not be sharp. One of those might be out of focus problems that you or the camera did something wrong. But it's also choosing the right shutter speeds. And so let's just go back and remember real quickly some of those types of shutter speeds. For human action I recommend 500, but for really fast human action, you're gonna need to go up a little bit, or more, depending on the action. So 1,000th for some fast runners. Some dancers, they're moving good fast human action, that's your standard 500th of a second that I talked about. Some elephants walking quickly in the field, not quite running, but they're moving quickly, 250th is appropriate for that. For most human action, probably 60th, but if it's a little bit faster, a little bit more ...

chaotic, more a little bit higher up at 125th of a second. As I said, that casual human action, probably it's gonna need a 60th of a second. What if you choose casual human action at a 30th of a second? Well, look at those feet, we're getting just a little bit of blur in the feet, maybe it's perfectly fine to have a bit of blur, and I don't mind it at a 30th of a second. It's up to you as to exactly how much blur that you want in your photograph. I love panning, down at 15th of a second, that works really good, and then we can jump all the way to one second, if we want that blurriness in the water movement. And if we wanna take things to extremes, we can go down to 30 seconds with water movement, and have some very interesting choices here. I encourage you to keep track of your shutter speeds, look at the metadata of your photographs that you've taken, and start building in your own little reference points for the types of things that you shoot. Maybe you shoot concert photography. I don't do a lot of concert photography. I would start with a 60th of a second, unless is a high energy lead singer. Then I might need more than 500th of a second. It depends on what they are, what instrument they play, bass players, I'd say that you could use a slow shutter speed with them, alright? Drummers, you're gonna need a faster shutter speed with them. Figure out what shutter speeds works with the type of subjects that you typically work with. So more ground that we can kind of recover, just for the moment is depth of field. Something you'll get a picture and it doesn't have everything in focus the way you expected. And so, going back to our depth of field, 1.4 gives you shallow depth of field, 22 gives you lots of depth of field, and I encourage you to go out and run these tests on your different lenses. You're not gonna end up with great photos, probably, 'cause you're just playing around, but you're learning how your equipment works, you're learning the limitations and the standards that you're gonna get with various sets of gear that you have. I've done this test more times than I can tell you, and because I've done that, I don't need to pull my phone out of my pocket and pull up the depth of field app to tell me how much depth of field I need. You'll learn it through experience and you can just incorporate it as you work in the field very, very quickly. So, as I say, 1.4, very shallow depth of field, opening up our aperture, and we are gonna have to balance this with our light needs in the camera. Now, remember this depth of field is controlled by more than just changing your aperture. It'll be controlled by the lens that you use. A 50mm lens at f/8 is gonna give you shallower depth of field than a 28mm lens at f/8. The aperture is the same opening, but it's because is a different lens you're gonna get different things in focus. 28 at f/8, you're gonna get most to everything in focus. 50 at f/8, that near tail light on the car there on the right hand side, that's not gonna be tack sharp, probably in that situation. And you need to be stopped down a little bit more if you're using that longer focal length lens. The other factor on depth of field is how close you are to your subject. The closer you are to your subject, the less you are gonna get in focus. And so, the aperture you need will depend on how close you are to your subject. Now, the complication for a lot of people getting into photography is that there are three factors controlling how much is in focus in any particular photograph. Okay, we got it John, you've said it enough times. F/22 is a lot of depth of field. F/1.4 is less depth of field. Focal length, you are gonna get more depth of field with wide angle, les depth of field at telephoto, and then, shooting distance, how far away is the subject when it's close up, you get shallow, when it's far away, you get more. And it's pretty easy to figure out how much depth of field you're gonna get, if you have everything set over on one side of this graph here. If it's on the other side, you're shooting 1.4 with a long telephoto lens on a close up subject, well, of course it's gonna be shallow depth of field. Where it starts to get confusing is when you got this one over here, and that one over there, and this one here. So you've got one thing pointing one way and another thing pulling you the other way, you have to figure out what has the most impact on providing the depth of field.

Class Description

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


1Class Introduction 2Photographic Characteristics 3Camera Types 4Viewing System 5Lens System 6Shutter System 7Shutter Speed Basics 8Shutter Speed Effects 9Camera & Lens Stabilization 10Quiz: Shutter Speeds 11Camera Settings Overview 12Drive Mode & Buffer 13Camera Settings - Details 14Sensor Size: Basics 15Sensor Sizes: Compared 16The Sensor - Pixels 17Sensor Size - ISO 18Focal Length 19Angle of View 20Practicing Angle of View 21Quiz: Focal Length 22Fisheye Lens 23Tilt & Shift Lens 24Subject Zone 25Lens Speed 26Aperture 27Depth of Field (DOF) 28Quiz: Apertures 29Lens Quality 30Light Meter Basics 31Histogram 32Quiz: Histogram 33Dynamic Range 34Exposure Modes 35Sunny 16 Rule 36Exposure Bracketing 37Exposure Values 38Quiz: Exposure 39Focusing Basics 40Auto Focus (AF) 41Focus Points 42Focus Tracking 43Focusing Q&A 44Manual Focus 45Digital Focus Assistance 46Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF) 47Quiz: Depth of Field 48DOF Preview & Focusing Screens 49Lens Sharpness 50Camera Movement 51Advanced Techniques 52Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance 53Auto Focus Calibration 54Focus Stacking 55Quiz: Focus Problems 56Camera Accessories 57Lens Accessories 58Lens Adaptors & Cleaning 59Macro 60Flash & Lighting 61Tripods 62Cases 63Being a Photographer 64Natural Light: Direct Sunlight 65Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight 66Natural Light: Mixed 67Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light 68Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light 69Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light 70Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light 71Quiz: Lighting 72Light Management 73Flash Fundamentals 74Speedlights 75Built-In & Add-On Flash 76Off-Camera Flash 77Off-Camera Flash For Portraits 78Advanced Flash Techniques 79Editing Assessments & Goals 80Editing Set-Up 81Importing Images 82Organizing Your Images 83Culling Images 84Categories of Development 85Adjusting Exposure 86Remove Distractions 87Cropping Your Images 88Composition Basics 89Point of View 90Angle of View 91Subject Placement 92Framing Your Shot 93Foreground & Background & Scale 94Rule of Odds 95Bad Composition 96Multi-Shot Techniques 97Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction 98Human Vision vs The Camera 99Visual Perception 100Quiz: Visual Balance 101Visual Drama 102Elements of Design 103Texture & Negative Space 104Black & White & Color 105The Photographic Process 106Working the Shot 107What Makes a Great Photograph?


a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


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Vlad Chiriacescu

Wow! John is THE best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and this is the most comprehensive, eloquent and fun course I have ever taken (online or off). If you're even / / interested in photography, take this course as soon as possible! You might find out that taking great photos requires much more work than you're willing to invest, or you might get so excited learning from John that you'll start taking your camera with you EVERYWHERE. At the very least, you'll learn the fundamental inner workings and techniques that WILL help you get a better photo. Worried about the cost? Well, I've taken courses that are twice as expensive that offer less than maybe a tenth of the value. You'll be much better off investing in this course than a new camera or a new lens. I cannot reccomend John and this course enough!