Depth of Field Tips in Sports Photography
And so why the heck practice photography terms audio so complicated? Considering photography is basically an art class, why is the linguistic communication so darn scientific? Depth of Field? What does that mean and why is it relevant inside the earth of sports photography? Well I am here to demystify all the pomp and clutter and cut through all the confusing terminology.
Depth of Field is just a fancy mode of describing what is in focus in your photograph. Is your range of focus shallow or deep? Here is a simple exercise to help explain this concept. Concur your mitt upwardly in forepart of your face, close ane heart and now focus on the details of your paw. Exercise y’all observe that one time you focus on your mitt that everything in the groundwork goes out of focus? Now leave your hand there, leave one middle airtight, and focus on the background. Notice how your hand is at present out of focus? The term depth of field is simply the art of controlling how much of your photograph is in focus. Every time yous shoot a photograph, you have the ability to command which subjects are in focus and which things are out of focus. If you lot took a photo of your hand, you have the ability to put your paw in focus and let the groundwork go soft (blurry) or keep them both in precipitous focus depending on how yous set up your aperture.
Let me prove you this concept in a sports photography context. Then allow’s say y’all are photographing a football game. You are on the sidelines and the team with the ball sets upward on the line of scrimmage directly in front of you. The heart has the brawl and is the mid signal in the string of offensive linemen. By controlling the depth of field, you have the power to command how many of those linemen are in focus for this photo. You can cull to accept only the center and the football game in focus and the players in the foreground and background out of focus. That would be called short or shallow depth of field. Or, you also have the ability to put all of the linemen in focus – that is called deep depth of field and your focal range is stretching further or deeper.
So why is Depth of Field so crucial for sports photography? One of the key elements of a nifty sports photograph is isolation and the nature of a sporting outcome is chaotic. In the background of any given sports photo, you lot have the opposite sideline, bleachers full of fans, cars in a parking lot, fences, etc. That ataxia makes for a photograph that lacks a central point of focus. Take a look at the sports section today and wait through some of the action photos. You volition find that in nigh cases, the photographer has intentionally used a short depth of field to blur the background then that the subject of the photograph seems to spring off the page. The good news is that it is non hard to reach. Y’all merely need to know how to control depth of field to your advantage.
And so the next question is, where do I notice the depth of field button on my camera? Actually, there isn’t 1. Depth of field is controlled by your aperture or f-finish settings. Here is a simple breakdown. The wider the discontinuity or the smaller the f-stop number, the shorter the depth of field. Then using our football instance again, to isolate the center, you would demand a short depth of field. F2.8 or F4. On the other farthermost, to go all the linemen in focus, you would need a smaller aperture or a larger f-terminate number. F16 or F22. At that place are times when y’all may want a deep depth of field but in nearly cases, every bit a sports photographer, you are e’er trying to keep your aperture wide open up. Sports photographers will open up as wide as possible (f2.8 or f4) and enhance the shutter speed. And so on a bright mean solar day, information technology would not be uncommon for a sports photographer to exist shooting at f2.eight at 200ISO and a shutter speed of 1/4000. Fast shutter to freeze the action, wide-open aperture to create short depth of field and an ISO to match the amount of light exterior. Bank check out my series of 4 articles nearly the Big Three camera settings to review how these settings piece of work together.
You lot tin also bank check out my article about Buying a Lens, and y’all can see why photographers pay more than to go those 2.8 lenses. Short depth of field is a big part of a great sports photo and decision-making that is why y’all ultimately need to larn how to control your camera rather than relying on a fully automatic manner. Now there is one more dimension to depth of field and that depends on how long your accomplish is or how long your lens is. If I was photographing the activity of a game with a 50mm lens, I would discover it hard to be precise with my depth of field considering the wider the lens, the more that is in focus. Nonetheless on the flip side, if I were using a 200mm or 300mm lens, I would notice information technology a lot easier to shorten that depth of field (another reason why sports photographers like the longer lenses).
Play with some unlike settings this weekend and see if you can use depth of field to your advantage.
Have a boom!
Scott Quintard is a professional photographer based in southern California and a 25 year sports photography veteran who specializes in teaching parents and aspiring photographers about how to capture sports imagery. Credits include 12 years as the official squad lensman for the UCLA Bruins and a seasoned contributor for NFL Properties, MLB, NBA and NCAA. Scott is a husband and father of three young athletes. Come across more of Scott’s offerings at www.sportspicpro.com.
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