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.