24 Uber Sharp Images with Huge Depth of Field to Focus Your Attention

24 Uber Sharp Images with Huge Depth of Field to Focus Your Attention


Over the last few weeks on dPS we’ve had some collections of images that demonstrate some of the basic photography principals. Last week it was using a large aperture for shallow depth of field. This time we’re going the other way and looking for images with a lot of depth of field, ones that utilize small apertures like f/16 or even smaller.

These are usually images with a lot of depth and focus from near to far. Landscape photographers use this technique often as do, surprisingly, macro shooters. When you get up close the depth of field is really slim so you need that added focus from the smaller apertures (if not using focus stacking techniques).

Note: learn how to control depth of field in this previously written article on the topic.

As a neat side effect if you include a light source like direct sunlight – smaller apertures will turn those into starbursts – a telltale sign you know a small aperture was used.

So here are some images that exemplify maximum sharpness and large depth of field:

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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles on her site Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Morocco and India. To help you at whatever level you're at she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

  • Florian

    really nice pictures. It would be nice however to know how these pictures were taken : Where is the focus point, AufoFocus or Manual Focus, using Liveview or using Focal Distance charts ?
    I would love to have such sharp images, I still haven’t understood yet how to shoot them !

    Thank you

  • Tommy H

    @florian: it’s a bit of a complicated issue. there are several factors that influence depth-of-field including, focal length, distance to subject, f-stop (aperture), and sensor size. Best idea is to download a depth of field app for your phone and look up the hyperfocal distance for the lens and camera you’re using, and input your information. Hyperfocal distance will tell you how much depth of field you have based on how far away from the lens you’re focusing. Essentially, from the focal point, one third of the focal area will be in front of the focal point, and two thirds will be behind it, so as a general rule of thumb, you want to focus about 1/3rd of the way into the scene. But it’s not as simple as setting your f-stop to your smallest aperture (say, f/22), since lenses are typically manufactured to get sharper results in the middle of the focal range (say, f/8-f/16), so you’ll probably get better (i.e.: sharper) results at f/11 or f/16, which is why hyperfocal distance is so important. you’ll need to know what depth of field you want for maximum results, without narrowing your aperture so much that you’ll start to lose sharpness. I hope that helps, but really, visualizing it through an iPhone or android app will make things a lot easier than typing in a message window. 🙂

  • Thanks for the tip of getting the app. I’m going to try it out. 😀

  • Liembo

    I’m not seeing “huge” DoF on the macro photos, unless you’re taking relative DoF for a macro shot of those kinds, between say 2mm and maybe 5mm…

  • Pro Photographer

    The difference with large apertures at macro level is that if it’s shallow, you only focus on a minuscule area of the mini subject. A larger depth of field will allow ALL the mini object to remain in focus.

    Transfer that logic to a mountain image, taken at say f1.8, and you are focusing on the foreground, then the mountain would be blurred. But take that exact same image at say f18 or more, and you will get the WHOLE image in focus.

    I just learned that by thinking high f-stop number (say f22) means everything is in focus, lower number (f1.8) means less in focus.

    Try this for size to better understand:-

  • Liembo

    I understand how aperture affects DoF. But the title of the article is “Sharp Images With Huge Depth of Field”, and all of the landscape photos show foreground and background objects all in focus. The macro photos do not. They show an extremely narrow depth of field which I find to be contrary to “huge”, unless the mean a relative “huge” within the scale of the photo. Instead of a 1mm of subject in focus, 5mm of it is now in focus (a “huge” gain of 400%).

  • Pro Photographer

    Huge in terms of millimetres though is just that. Huge. Especially when compared to half a km on a mountainous view image.

    Macro to landscape. The DOF rules still apply. But I understand your point.

  • GeorgeDexter

    I’m a bit surprised that you don’t talk about diffraction, a softening effect that happens at small apertures. f/32 is great for depth of field, but you won’t have the sharpness anywhere in the image that you would at f/8 or f/11 typically.

  • kiran

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  • Ninkasi

    Thank you, Florian! I agree that would have made a much more useful article.

  • Higbe33

    Completely off subject here, but going over the great images and I stopped at the sunflowers. Cool shot with the sunset, but sure had me wanting to see it from the other end of the field. Facing the open flowers with sun at my back.

  • sdh

    Good info. I looked on App Store and there are several DOP apps. Can you suggest one? Ty.

  • Tommy H

    I use Simple DoF Calculator, but there’s a bunch of them (many of them are free), so just try a few free ones and see which suits you best. Once you find one that’s reasonably what you like that’s free, it’s always good to support app developers and pick up one with a little more spit and polish similar to the free one you like for like $0.99. 🙂

  • Alyssia
  • Dennis

    Wow, these have been some of the best collection of shots I have seen in quite a while. Very inspiring.

  • Higbe33

    I like those much better. Thank you Alyssia.

  • Nick V

    Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our perfect BOKEH images, that we totally forget that images like these are priceless and timeless as well. Great article.

  • Sherry Hudson

    Very beautiful images..I do wonder though whether they are straight images or with some photoshop manipulation ie composite images etc. Not that doing so would be bad but I think we need to start differentiating between digitally manipulated images and “single frame photographs”. It is essential to include the shooting info in articles like this to help build the capacity to take good photos in your readers, it would also be a great asset to identify the focal point in the photos to give real examples of using hyperfocal distances.

  • Bob bevan Smith

    If you right-click on some of these images you do get the EXIF info, which helps. But I agree, a fully description of how each shot was made would be very useful. Right click and see the ‘happy holidays from the Bay’ info!

  • sunscapes

    Thank you for those wonderful photos. The focus and sharpness is just right.. not over done. I see too many over done/sharpened photos with heavy handed PP work. Those white edged crystalic renderings could shatter.
    These are excellent examples of sharp focused images.


    I tried a right click, but nothing??

  • Mara

    One of the reasons they cant tell you how each one is done, is because they have taken at least some of these pictures off someone else’s website without asking if is is ok. I know this because one of these pictures belongs to a friend of mine.

  • Bill Rose
  • John C.

    I really appreciate all the informative articles here on dps. I’ve learned a lot, and I consider this site one of the best when it comes to everything photography, really. But I can’t for the life of me understand why 90% of all the images shown on this website as “professional” are so over-saturated and have the dynamic range tweaked so high.

    Am I the only one that notices this? I can’t believe this is the new state of photography. I mean, come on, look at the sunflower picture. Have you ever seen anything like this is real life? I think too much time is spent in Photoshop over-creating and not enough time is spent visualizing “in-camera.” Anyone else reach this same conclusion?

  • April Olson

    I love the composition of many of these photos but I don’t like the over saturation and processing. I would rather see a more natural color.

  • April Olson

    I agree, I hope the trend ends soon.

  • hpaa46

    How much depth of field can you really expect with a close up of a bee? If the head is in focus, can the stinger also be?

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