Depth of field causes more confusion among photographers — beginners and otherwise — than nearly any other topic out there. Many “common knowledge” tips about depth of field have some flaws, or are at least partially inaccurate. At a personal level, it took me far too long to separate the good suggestions from the bad, and I eventually realized that I had been relying upon some erroneous information for years without knowing better. My goal with this article is not to make the most controversial possible statements, or needlessly poke holes in things that are almost entirely true. Instead, my hope is to cover some of the basic, common inaccuracies that you may have heard about depth of field, in case you’ve been relying on faulty information for your own photography.
One of the most misunderstood parts about landscape photography is the correct way to fit your entire scene within a photo’s depth of field. Where do you focus? What aperture should you use? You might think that these questions are easy to answer with a hyperfocal distance chart, where you provide your focal length and aperture, and the chart tells you exactly where to focus. There’s only one hiccup — if you want the sharpest possible results, these charts are spectacularly wrong. For most landscape and architectural photographers, that’s a big deal. This article explains everything about hyperfocal distance charts: what they are, why they fail, and where to focus instead.
If you’re trying to photograph the small world of plants and bugs, you’ll face plenty of challenges along the way. Macro photography is a difficult genre — you’re pushing up against the physical limits of depth of field, diffraction, and motion blur. Naturally, focusing in macro photography isn’t an easy task, but it’s a crucial one. How do you optimize your focusing technique for capturing small subjects? The answer depends upon exactly what you’re photographing.
If you like taking landscape photos at night, you’ll surely be familiar with one of the main challenges: successfully focusing on the stars. Often, you can’t use autofocus, since there isn’t enough light for your camera’s focusing system to lock onto anything. Unfortunately, even manual focus doesn’t always work, which means you may need to use some out-of-the-box techniques to make it work. This article goes through some of the most useful tools that you have at your disposal.