Understanding depth of field in smartphone photography can be a game changer when it comes to taking stunning, professional looking pictures. Learning to understand how to control the depth of field can add a lot of dimension to your images, making them look more professional and less like a cellphone photo.
What is depth of field?
Depth of field is basically the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear in focus. When you have a shallow depth of field, only a small portion of the scene is in focus, while the rest is blurry. On the other hand, when you have a deep depth of field, most of the scene is in focus.
If you look at the photo on the left you can see there is a deep depth of field. The woman in the far background is in focus. Compare that to the image on the right which has a narrow depth of field. The same woman is now blurred out and only the bright pink heart on her sweater is still faintly visible.
So, how can you control depth of field in smartphone photography? There are three different ways to to do this.
1.Use a wide aperture or portrait mode
Aperture refers to the opening in your camera lens that lets light in. The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field. Some smartphone cameras have manual controls where you can adjust the aperture, while others have a portrait mode or a selective focus mode that automatically creates a shallow depth of field effect.
When you take a photo in portrait mode, the camera uses a wide aperture to create a blurred background.
Look at the difference in these two images. The one on the left was taken with the normal lens (the lens your camera opens to) and the one one the right was taken in portrait mode. See how portrait mode blurs the background? By blurring the background, all that distraction in the background somewhat disappears and the result is a more professional looking photo.
2. Control depth of field with distance
A second way to control the depth of field in smartphone photography is with distance to your subject. The closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth of field will be. So, if you want to create a blurry background or foreground, try moving in closer to your subject.
3. Use an editing tool
The third way to control depth of field in smartphone photography is with editing tools. Some photo editing apps have a blur tool that you can use to selectively blur parts of your image and create a shallow depth of field effect.
The Snapseed app has a blur tool that allows you to selectively blur the background in post production. A heads up, it is not as good as using portrait mode but it will blur the edges for you.
Remember, depth of field isn’t just about creating a blurry background or foreground. It’s about drawing attention to your subject and creating a sense of depth in your images. So, keep these tips in mind and have fun exploring the possibilities of depth of field in your smartphone photography.
Understanding and using depth of field in smartphone photography can really elevate your pictures and take them to the next level. By using portrait mode, moving in closer to your subject, and using an editing app, you can create stunning and professional-looking images.
Looking to learn even more about how to use your smartphone to achieve pro looking photos? Check out my Better iphone class HERE or with link below.
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