What is the Right Depth of Field?


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During this outing to Whitehouse Perennials, I was using my tripod so I was able to vary my depth of field. The advantage of shooting at f 22 is that the whole flower is in focus. But so is much of the busy background. In the f 5.6 image details are lost on the flower but the stamen are still in sharp focus and the background is nicely blurred. In the f 3.5 image a lot of the detail of the flower is lost and the focus is much softer. The background is also very nicely blurred.














Which depth of field you choose depends on what you like. Lots of detail or a softer focus. Is f 3.5 too soft? I often like a softer focus, especially with flowers as long as the stamen are in focus. Sometimes that can be tricky to achieve especially the more you open up your aperture. In this case, my preference is the f 5.6 image. I think there is enough detail in the flower and the stamen are sharp. The flower pops against the blurred background. I could square up this image but I like to have negative space in my compositions. What do you think? Click on the images to enlarge for better viewing.



17 thoughts on “What is the Right Depth of Field?

  1. There is no right, it is how you want to develop the scene. For me I think 22 is a no-no as there is no need to have distractions in the background. I would go for the f3.5 but cannot claim to be right. MM šŸ€

    1. I agree, but I think that f22 can used to get a more detailed subject and the background blurred later in photoshop. I sometimes wonder if I should be doing that rather than going to f3.5 to blur the background. Again it depends on what you want and how much post processing your willing to do. Thanks MM for the comment.

  2. I’d have instinctively said f3.5/f5.6, but I actually really like the f22 shot too as the background isn’t actually too busy (or as busy as it often is when photographing plants). Nice experiment!

  3. f5.6 for me. The flower stands out well and there is enough blur on the background to give context without becoming distracting. Really narrow dof seems to work best when you’re only including part of the flower in the first place so the attention is focussed on that element.

  4. Hello Beth, thanks for dropping by on my Earth Laughs in Flowers blog. I thought I’d come and have a look at your blog, and so glad that I did. This is a lovely example of DOF and I like all three shots, but at a push I’d go for the f5.6 image. I really need to start using a tripod when photographing flowers. Maybe that should be my goal for this year.
    Jude xx

    1. Thanks for following me back and all your wonderful feedback. Always appreciated. šŸ™‚ As for the tripod, I use it depending on the situation and the lens I’m using. When using my macro lens, I almost alway use the tripod and when I use the my 70 to 300 lens, I usually don’t. Hope that helps…

    1. although # 1 is very kewl also, is a toss up , depending upon da view, i like blurring the back as much as possible on shotz like that , nevertheless , jest wanted to addendum dat! stunning shotz all 3 really!

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