Assignment 2: Part 2 – Depth-of-field/lens perspectives

It’s important to learn how your choice of aperture and focal length can change the way your pictures look and feel. And practice staying out of “the middle!”

NOTE: If you are using a university camera kit for this assignment, please use the Tamron lens. You should see a fairly significant difference in depth-of-field between f/2.8 and f/16. Make sure you take a look at your images as you shoot them. If you are not seeing a noticeable difference in depth-of-field between f/2.8 and f/16, then you might need to move closer to your subject and reframe your image more tightly. Remember, zoom all the way in, and all the way out, and use your feet – move back and forth to reframe your image!


Find ONE subject and make four pictures of this subject, each one framed the same way, with the subject the same size, showing him or her from the shoulders up, positioned in the bottom third of the frame to the left or the right. Make sure there is some kind of background element at least 10 feet beyond your subject (don’t use a wall or something featureless). Example (make sure you read the caption):


Try to compose your images for this exercise in a way similar to this photograph. Position your subject in the lower third of the frame (either side is okay) and make sure the subject’s head is the same size in ALL FOUR pictures.


Picture #1  

  • Find the shortest focal length of whatever lens you are using. If you have more than one lens, start with the one which has the widest angle of view (shortest focal length). If you are using the lens that comes with your university kit, that means 17 or 18mm. If you are using your own kit lens, that probably means 17mm.
  • Set your aperture to the widest setting, or smallest f-value (we call this shooting “wide open”). If you are using the university’s lens, that means f/2.8. If you are using your own kit lens with a variable maximum aperture, that probably means f/3.5
  • Set your shutter speed and ISO accordingly for a correct exposure.
  • Make several pictures. You may pose your subject for this. Try to pay attention to the background and shoot in a way that creates a visual relationship to your subject.

Picture #2

  • Shoot this at the same focal length, without changing your position and using the same composition, but now set your aperture to f/16, again, adjusting your shutter speed and/or ISO to maintain correct exposure.

Picture #3

  • Now, change your zoom (or lens, if you have more than one) to the longest focal length (50mm on a university lens, 55mm for most other kit lenses) and move back until you can compose the photo the same exact way as the first two. Don’t zoom back and forth to recompose! Simply zoom all the way out and leave it there. Adjust your composition by moving yourself back and forth.
  • Shoot wide open (widest aperture) again. This will still be f/2.8 on a university lens. If you have your own variable aperture lens, then f/5.6 will probably be your widest aperture once you zoom out to 55mm.
  • Adjust your shutter speed and ISO to get proper exposure.

Picture #4

  • Shoot this final image from the same spot as #3, setting your aperture to f/16 this time (and, again, adjusting your shutter speed/ISO for proper exposure).

Collect the same information for this subject that you did for your mugshots. You may use one of your mug shot subjects for this assignment, if you wish and he or she has the time.

OPTIONAL, but very highly encouraged!

Basic kit lenses and the university’s Tamron lenses zoom out to only 50-55mm. This leaves out the telephoto range of focal lengths. If you check out one of the university T6i kits, shoot two more pictures with the Canon lens in your kit, zoomed all the way out to 135mm. Note that your maximum f-stop will be 5.6 at this focal length, so you will need to make exposure adjustments to compensate for less light reaching the sensor. Then shoot another picture at f/16, again, making necessary adjustments to your shutter speed and/or ISO.

Some of you may own zoom lenses that are capable of longer focal lengths, such as 200mm or 300mm. Please try this exercise with those lenses zoomed out to their longest focal length so you can understand how your images look at these focal lengths.


One Response to Assignment 2: Part 2 – Depth-of-field/lens perspectives

  1. Pingback: What’s ahead? | Journalism 3333: Photojournalism

Comment on this

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: