Depth of Field & the Importance of Distance

Picture this: you spent all of your money on a new camera lens that you’ve been wanting for ages. You mount the beautiful lens to your camera and start shooting. You spend your entire day shooting with this new lens, and only when you upload them to your computer do you realize that 75% of the shots were out of focus. Many professional videographers and photographers have experienced this frustration, and The Burnette Agency is here to teach you how to avoid this disaster.


The depth of field element is one of the most important elements in photography. Depth of field is the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. The element itself is quite distinct, however, it’s rare you’d be able to find any instruction on the subject. In the simplest of terms, the closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth of field is relative to your chosen aperture. In other words, if you are twenty feet away from your subject, you will have considerable more depth of field than you will if you are shooting two feet away from your subject.


In order to achieve the depth of field element when shooting, one must take the camera’s aperture into consideration. In photography terms, the aperture is a setting that opens and closes to allow control over the amount of light in the camera sensor. When shooting for depth of field, ideally you would shoot “wide open”, meaning shooting at your lens’ widest aperture setting.


Most people learn that wide-aperture lenses blur the background and let in more light. Although this is true, it is important to understand that a deep and shallow depth of field is also affected by another factor: how close you are to the subject. Keep in mind when aiming for a depth of field shot and shooting “wide open” is the distance between you and your subject.


With this information, it is also very important that you get to really know your lens and its abilities. For example, if you know that you shoot a lot of emotion in your last visual and you were close to your subjects, be aware of how much depth of field your lens gives you at that distance when shooting wide open. Eventually with the right experience, you will be able to immediately know the depth of field your lens will give you based on how far you are away from your subject.


In conclusion, if you are trying to learn the basics of photography or videography, we hope this has explained how to avoid out of focus shots. Remember to always look back at your results during the shoot, and always be aware of the distance between you and your subject. By keeping these two things in mind, you will save yourself a great deal of time and frustration.


If you are interested in learning more about the basics of photography or videography, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d love to hear from you. You can reach The Burnette Agency by email at or give us a call at 404-850-2081.