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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 38 of 51

Depth of Field

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

38. Depth of Field
Depth of Field is photography jargon for how much of the image is in focus. Expanding on the discussion from the lesson on aperture, see depth of field in action.


Lesson Info

Depth of Field

with a camera like this, there is only one point of focus that is the focus distance. Anything in front of or behind that point of focus is actually out of focus, however, because the human eyes unable to resolve detail beyond a certain point. There is an area in front of and behind the point of focus. It appears to be sharp, and this is what we're referring to when we use the term depth of field. Now deaf, the field is influenced by two things. It's influenced by camera to subject distance. There's also influenced by the focal length of the lens that I'm using. However, it is controlled by lens aperture. A small aperture will give you a large depth of field. Large F number, large depth of field. A wide aperture will give you a small depth of field, small left, number, small depth of field. And I'm going to demonstrate that now, using this row of standing stones. So I have the cameras set up with the focus point on the first stone in the road on. For the purpose of this demonstration, ...

I've got F 2.8 set for lens aperture, a small left number, which is going to give me a small amount of depth of field. Take that picture now. If we look at that photograph, you'll see that the first stone is sharp. The second stone is sharp enough that you can see some detail, but it's starting to drop off. Even at this point in the 3rd 4th and the fifth Stones are all out of focus. So have a very narrow depth of field which has given me sharpness, really only from the first stone up towards the second stone. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to keep the focus point on the first stone. I'm going to set lens aperture. I have 22. So this is a very narrow aperture, a large F number, and this is going to give me a large amount of depth of field if I take this picture. What we see here is that if you look closely at the stones, not only is the first and the second stone sharp, but also the third going towards the fourth stone in the picture also have gained sharpness. So I've increased depth of field, have increased visible sharpness from the first stone to somewhere between the third and fourth stones. So with your narrowest aperture that your largest F number, you'll get the largest amount of depth of field. And with your widest aperture, that's the smallest F number. You'll get the smallest amount of depth of field. And, of course, you can change exactly how much sharpness you get in a picture from foreground to background. Simply by changing the F numbers, a medium F number will give you a medium amount of depth of field.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.

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mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!