Case Study- Depth of Field and Shutter Speed

Case study

Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art. Depth of field is the transition from sharp focus to soft out of focus areas in the image. The zone of sharp focus and how much is in focus is known as the depth of field. A shallow depth of field means that a small portion of the image is in focus. Some portrait shots show the person I’m sharp focus and the background is out of focus. Shallow depth of focus is used to make you viewer look at your subject, so make sure that the main subject is in sharp focus and the rest of the image is out of focus, so that the main subject will standout and people will immediately look there. Depth of field enhances composition, as you would place the main subject in the middle of the grid on your camera, that is in sharp focus and the out of focus zones around it.

Here is an example of a creative use of shallow depth of field by Steve McCurry: Shallow depth of field is when the win subject is sharp and in focus and the background is blurred.

steve mccurry

Here is an example of broad depth of field by Viviane Sassen: Broad depth of field is when everything is in focus. In this picture, Viviane Sassen has used a fast shutter speed as the picture is sharp and in focus.

viviane sassen

Here is an example of a slow shutter speed by Vivian Majer:

vivian majer

Shutter speed is how quickly the shutter closes. Shutter speed changes the lighting in a picture, if the picture is being taken in a dark surrounding then the shutter speed should be set to slow, as it will let more light in a brighten the picture, however if the picture is being taken in a bright surrounding then the shutter speed should be set to fast, as it would let in a less light to stop the picture from being over exposed. This enhances composition as if the shutter speed is fast it makes the picture sharper, but if there is a slow shutter speed makes the picture blur.

Alec Soth uses a shallow depth of field in his work, i know this as in most of his pictures the main subject of his work is in focus and the background is all blurred, this makes the viewer look at the main subject and nothing else so makes the main subject stand out. He wouldn’t need to use a fast or slow shutter speed as most of his pictures are staged, so his subjects stay still.

alec soth

Vivian Maier uses a range of depth of field in her work, she uses shallow and broad depth of field but most of her work i think uses broad depth of field when researching her pictures. Vivian Maier would use a range of shutter speeds, for example in her reflection work she would need to use very slow shutter speeds as when the shutter closes on one subject she then needs the time to move onto another subject. However in her other pieces, such as her non-stanged work, she would need to use fast shutter speeds to ensure that her pictures come out sharp and in focus.

vivian maier 2

Viviane Sassen uses a range depth of field in her work, i know this as looking at her work she uses shallow and broad depth of field, however she mostly uses broad depth of field in her work. She wouldn’t need to use a fast or slow shutter speed as most of her pictures are staged so the subject wouldn’t move and blur the picture, however if the picture is being taken in a bright surrounding she would need to use a faster shutter speed otherwise her pictures would come out over exposed.

viviane sassen 2

Steve McCurry uses a shallow depth of field in his work, i know this as the main subject is sharp and in focus and the background is all out of focus. Steve McCurry also wouldn’t need to use a specific slow or fast shutter speed as his photos are also staged so the subject wouldn’t mover, however, if the pictures are taken in a bright surrounding he would need to use a faster shutter speed, otherwise the picture would be overexposed.

steve mccurry 2

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