Shooting Groups and Landscapes

For portraits and close up work, a shallow depth of field is often used to showcase the object and separate it from the background. Depth of field being the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects giving a focused image. For landscapes, a large depth of field is usually required but how to make the best use of your camera.

When I was doing my degree, we were instructed to focus on the back row when shooting groups of people and you often hear people say focus at infinity when filming landscapes and that will, in most cases give adequate results. However, this wastes some of the depth of field and there is a sweet spot somewhere between the horizon and the foreground, or between the back and the front of the group, that allows you to keep the biggest proportion of the scene in focus.

This is called the hyperfocal distance and is roughly 1/3 of the way into the scene you are shooting. Of course, the bigger the depth of field, the more of the shot will be in focus so it’s worth taking a moment to think about where and when you shoot. To get maximum depth of field it’s best to shoot in very good light, use a small aperture and a wide lens. The longer the lens, the further away the hyperfocal distance becomes.

Think about what is the most important element in the shot and adjust your focus to to give maximum clarity to that. It may that you need to shift the camera position or try a different lens. It’s always good to try your own experiments before adopting any technique and there are lots of websites if you want to do more research.

Here’s a couple I came across: Photographylife  Cambridge in Colour