Depth of Field: OnSet ep.172

Depth of Field: OnSet ep.172


Hey, this is Daniel Norton, I’m here in my studio in New York City with Maria, and we’re going to make some portraits, but I want to talk in this video about… depth of field. I get this question a lot, and people talk a lot about you know, using depth of field be it shallow or deep, or whatever you want to do. So we’re just going to kind of run through a really simple portrait set up. Kind of the way that I would shoot it, and then we’re going to play around with depth of field ,and see if we can create an even better shot, and, and see how it looks. So I have my one of my favorite softbox is here, this is the Shimira Pro 2… – so it’s the the flat front one.. so you don’t have the edges. Throws a lot of light around, great if you’re going to want to use one light, it’s in the Profoto B1X, it’s bouncing down onto this white card which is throwing light back up into her face creating just kind of a nice even wash of light across her face. First thing I always do, is I want to make sure that none of the light in the space is affecting my shot. So I’m at let’s see I am at a 1/250th a 5.6 at 100 ISO, so now I make a photo… and it should be black. It is.. okay so I’m tethered in to Capture One here. Here, so I can see what I’m doing, and I’ve got my Canon here. I have the 85mm f/1.2 ..cause we’re going to play around with the shallow depth of field, and like I said I’m at f/5.6 so right now she’s straight on to me. I’m just going toset my focus nice and even. As expected we got a decent amount of depth of field, here you know, her eyes nice and sharp. You’re starting to get a little out of focus back here at the edge of her hairline, but the hair around her face is nice and sharp, and the background even though we’ve got this like paneled wall, you can see the line still. So it’s got a decent amount of focus, but not so much in focus that.. it’s distracting. Let’s see so that’s at f/5.6 Let’s just… I’m just going to go wide first, cause people love to go wide open, that’s why you buy these lenses right? So I’m going to go, we’ll just do it, we’re going to go all the way to 1.2… see I’m going to adjust my light using the controller here, down, that’s about 4.5 ish stops. So let’s see if we can get to where we want to be. So looking right at me, so when you’re shooting this wide open, you definitely want to be wary of your focus. Oh wow! Okay, so we can see may even be a smidge dark there, we can definitely see, her eyes are sharp now, but check out the difference here. You may notice something else interesting about this color, and the reason why the color is a little bit weird, is because I got the modeling light on, and that’s affecting our shot so I’m going to kill the modeling light. I mean you could actually shoot just with the modeling light, if you really wanted to. There we go, that should clean it up, there we go, now we’ve got the shallow depth of field with relatively clean color. It’s a little bit dark, cause I didn’t do my math exactly right.. Let me see if I can get it a little bit brighter, I’m gonna turn this light up. Let’s say 3/10’s… There we go! That’s pretty much closer to proper exposure. So yeah, you can play around with this depending on the look you’re going for, and I think if we’re going to use a shallow depth of field like this, we should kind of accentuate. She has all this beautiful hair, but I have it all, the focal plane of her face, so let’s have you pull it back, so I can actually watch it kind of drift back. Yeah look even with that, yeah, even like kind of just, let, yeah, there right there, that’s it, put your chin forward a little bit, all right now, I’m being very careful with my focus, here we go. Yeah now we can see it really dropping off. You can see the edge of her face even right here, like just completely going soft and beautiful, now see if you turn more with your face like this. Now, if you’re going to do this I can guarantee you one eye is probably going to be out of focus at this point. So I’m going to focus on the near eye, you only pick one eye. You typically want to focus on the near eye. You can see here, that this is a creating kind of a certain effect. I’m not a huge fan of this. Personally if I’m going to shoot somebody slightly in profile I don’t want half their face out-of-focus. So if we’re going to stay like that I’m going to now go back. Let’s drift back up to, let’s say.. we go to we give myself about two more stops of light, focus there. Oh! Perfect, she puts to sleep, it’s not enough depth of field, so I’m going to give myself a little bit more, so I’m bringing it, bringing the light up one stop. Closing down the lens, one stop, see that go to f/4, eyes open, no problem, so now we’re at f/4, and while it’s not tack, tack sharp across her whole eye. It looks like it’s going out right at the edge of the lashes, it’s still going to give us in my opinion, more superior look, right! So sometimes, a really shallow depth-of-field can look cool. Let’s say on the straight on shot, but you have to be a little weary if you’re going to start doing other poses, that it could become maybe too much. Now going the other way, just to kind of show you what we got. We could go, we close down a lot. let’s go one, two, three stops… to 11. This is at f/11.. there should be pretty, pretty, deep focus here now. See the backgrounds getting sharper, just for the heck of it. I’ll go another stop to f/16, and we’re getting closer, and closer now. The other thing that affects your depth of field though, another major thing, is camera distance to subject, and also subject to whatever else is in the shot, like the background. So if I were to just take Maria, and have her go all the ways back, fifty feet. No it’s not that far, it’s maybe like, four, four more feet back. I’m going to compensate for the distance, my lights turned up all the way. Someone’s going to close down, back down to eleven for a second. Using the inverse square law, we’re going to see how sharp she becomes relative to the background. Okay so it’s a little hot. Cause, I was just guessing at that point, there we go, so we can see now the background is getting sharper and even that’s enough, 11, but even if I were to close down to let’s say a 4, which was kind of borderline before all kind of stuff was happening here, it’s like 3 more stops, we should still get a decent amount of depth of field. So depending on even at
4, we’re still getting most of her face, and her hair, and we’re getting a little bit of the background, and focus. So again distance from subject to the background, distance to the camera, and also f-stop, are going to be what’s going to affect your your depth of field. So come forward for one last one, cause you always have to end with the really wide open shot. Paid a lot of money for this lens, got to make it happen! Right anybody who has the f/1.2 lens knows that you have to always shoot at f/1.2 … now I think, also, I’m, ISO 100. Luckily, the it’s kind of, the end of the day here. So I’m able to pull this off sometimes, if you want to shoot these really shallow depth of field portraits, you got to be a little weary because… if there’s a lot of light in the space, you may not be able to to pull it off, because it starts to, you start to pick up too much of the ambient light. Cut… split the difference… Cool there we go, now I’m back to that really kind of shallow, give me that like Supergirl. You can’t see it here, you only see the top half of her, but she has a full Supergirl outfit on there! We go, beautiful, nice and shallow, pretty
shot, really clean. Playing around with the idea of the color too, by the way, if you didn’t notice that she has a red shirt on. I mean you know with the green background, think about that when you’re working on portraits. It’s kind of another way to work, so remember use your depth of field. But don’t think you always have to be either wide open… or super closed down when things need to be in focus. Every aperture in between has its place depending on what you’re doing! And you can create a lot of interesting shots in portraiture, with various apertures. So you can follow Maria on Maria DeCotis on all the social media. I’ll put the link in the description. Follow me on Facebook danielnortonphotographer Be sure to subscribe to AdoramaTV and I’ll see you next time OnSet.

12 thoughts on “Depth of Field: OnSet ep.172

  1. Hey Daniel, great video any tips for getting tack sharp to iris at low f stop, I often get lashes at less than 2.8. Thanks sir!

  2. Neat vid, very amazing 😀 If some of you guys would like to check out very similar tutorials, check out heydominik. He's got very enjoyable content material as well:)

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