Introducing Depth of Field | No. 4 Kid’s 365 SeriesPosted by Kelly Buss on Apr 18, 2012 in 365 With Kids, Blog, Photography | 5 comments
After watching my boys apply the Rule of Thirds, I realized they were only viewing their frame in terms of left-to-right.
When they photographed their subject in a light box, this approach worked well, but when they shot elsewhere, they needed to consider more in their composition.
Another way to guide them to see more in their frame is to teach them about Depth of Field.
Depth of Field (DOF) is the distance between objects in the photograph that are in focus. I designed this exercise to help my boys understand that when their subject is within the DOF, it will appear in focus or sharp and its opposite, when their subject is outside of the DOF, the subject will be out of focus or blurry.
Depth of Field Exercise
Supplies: yardstick, 3 similar size toys
Camera settings: Aperture Priority, Wide Aperture (I used f/3.5. Be sure to pick a f-number small enough to create a dramatic difference.)
First, place your camera at the beginning of the yardstick and all of the toys at 18”. Have your child focus on the left figure and snap a picture. All the figures should be sharp.
Next, move the center figure back to 24” and the right figure forward to 12”. Focus again on the left figure and snap a picture. Only the left figure should be sharp.
Finally, move the center figure back to 30” and the right figure forward to 6”. Again, only the left figure should be sharp. Both other figures should be drastically out of focus, possibly unrecognizable.
Once your child has completed the shots, study them together.
Jesse, my 7 year-old, really enjoyed working through this exercise. He took multiple shots, moving each figure only an inch at a time and studying how the figures became increasingly out-of-focus. After experimenting by moving the figures and comparing the pictures, he had a lightbulb moment, asking the question, “How do I make the DOF bigger?”
My answer? You’ll have to come back in two weeks to find out!
What are other ways to help our children understand DOF?