If you’re trying to up your videography game, you need to understand shallow depth of field. We’re here to let you know all about it!

There’s a lot of technical jargon and terms to get to grips with when it comes to photography and videography. You might be into the idea of simply pointing and shooting, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with your shots either. But, it is undeniably useful having a basic understanding of the language of shooting images.

You might want to become a freelancer videographer, creating video content for all kinds of cool clients. Or, you might be working collaboratively on a project with other creators. Being able to communicate your vision clearly with others will save you a lot of time and hassle. That’s why it’s handy to know the lingo!

Without further ado, let’s get into it. What is shallow depth of field?

Shallow Depth of Field Meaning

Shallow depth of field refers to part of an image being in focus. This is common in portrait, nature, and travel imagery, and so usually the subject is in focus. The background, or sometimes the foreground, will be lightly blurred.

Usually, the level of blur isn’t too extreme, and just enough to highlight the correct part of the shot being the star of the show.

You might also come across this being called “small” or “narrow” depth of field.

How to Achieve It

Things can get kind of complex if you go into full detail around achieving this particular type of shot. In simple terms, you can keep your depth of field shallow by keeping your aperture wide.

  1. Use a lens with a wide aperture: A lens with a wide aperture (such as f/1.4 or f/2.8) allows more light to enter the camera, which helps to create a shallow depth of field.
  2. Use a larger sensor camera: Cameras with larger sensors, such as full-frame or APS-C sensors, have a shallower depth of field than cameras with smaller sensors.
  3. Increase the distance between the subject and the background: The further the subject is from the background, the shallower the depth of field will be.
  4. Zoom in on your subject: Zooming in on your subject can also create a shallower depth of field.
  5. Use a longer focal length lens: A longer focal length lens will create a shallower depth of field than a shorter focal length lens.
  6. Move closer to your subject: The closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth of field will be.
  7. Use ND filters: If you are shooting in bright sunlight and want to use a wide aperture to achieve a shallow depth of field, you may need to use neutral density (ND) filters to reduce the amount of light entering the camera.

By combining these techniques, you can create a shallow depth of field in your videography, which can help to draw attention to your subject and create a more cinematic look.