Photographer Kim Shalet explains how depth of field controls how much of a photograph's subject matter is in focus. She shows the difference between a large and a small (shallow) depth of field and demonstrates how this is achieved using different apertures on an SLR camera and experimenting with distance from subject matter when using a compact camera.

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Bitesize Clips

Before watching the clip, invite students to discuss the meaning of depth of field and cite examples where they have seen ‘deep depth of field’ and ‘shallow depth of field’. Ask students to find examples of deep and shallow depth of field compositions which they can critique in class. These could be photographs, stills from films or other sources. Students could concentrate on why a particular effect has been chosen (such as to highlight a particular area, to convey a particular psychological effect, or to link different parts of the composition) as well as technical considerations. After watching the clip, ask students to play around with the camera’s aperture settings, experimenting with distance from subject matter and lighting.