These days, it's all the rage to shoot images that use a very narrow DOF. This is achieved with lenses that have very wide apertures, like f2.8, f1.8, f1.4. We say they're dreamy - because much of the photo is blurred with thick, swirling color. The problem I often see, however, is that because depth of field is incorrectly understood, what should be in focus - your work - is lost because it's unsharp and the image is more about being dreamy and less about composition.
On the OTHER hand, you'll get yourself in to trouble using a depth of field that is too wide, too. When everything is in focus, everything has the same level of importance. Sometimes, people who are afraid to shoot images that are not in focus enough go with super wide DOF to make sure that they don't mess up.
I know, I know. Here comes Nissa, the Photo Police.
But hear me out.
I want your images to sell your work. You know - that amazing thing you just spent hours, days, weeks of your life designing, sewing and finishing. I want to see the fabric. The stitching. The texture. I also want to see an image that's engaging, and directs my eye to what I should be focusing on.
You can make big changes and get better images easily by simply paying attention to your depth of field and making some small adjustments to your camera settings.
Here's the image that Kristy shared with you last week. It's a simple pillow, so it looks great surrounded with beautiful busy and vibrant propping. I've got to choose a depth of focus that's going to sell the pillow and make Kristy's styling choices work. For the sake of this blog post, I shot the photo using four different f-stops: f1.4, f2.8, f4.0 and f7.1.