Am I in a Photographic Rut?

Sometimes it’s instructive to periodically look at your photography and ask the question “Am I in a Photographic Rut?”

Have I been shooting the same subject over and over again? Sometimes from a different perspective but pretty much the same subject matter.

Maybe it’s time for a change. You might objectively look at your images and evaluate where you are in your photography.  Some of those questions might include:

  • “What types of images have I been shooting?”
  • “Is there any variety in my images?”
  • “Should I expand my subject matter?”
  • “Am I growing and improving?”
  • “What do I need to do to take my photography to the next level?”
  • “Is there a different perspective I should look at that I am missing?”
  • “Could I shoot some other subjects that would help me improve my primary photographic focus?”
  • “Would evaluating other photographer’s images of the same or similar subjects give me some ideas and inspiration?”  (Note: Don’t just copy other photographer’s work. Be creative. Take a different approach.)

How does the Distance from the Camera to the Subject affect the Depth of Field?

How does the distance from the camera to the subject affect the Depth of Field?


We performed a study to determine how the distance from the camera to the subject affects the Depth of Field (DOF). As in all of our studies or experiments all of the parameters except for one are constant throughout the experiment.  The only parameter that will change in this study will be the distance from the camera to the subject. These are the parameters and a description of the study:

How do Depth of Field and Circle of Confusion relate to each other?

Technical Level: Intermediate-Advanced  

How do Depth of Field and Circle of Confusion relate to each other?

This is an advanced subject. You should have completed lessons DP-111C and DP-112C before trying to apply the information contained in this blog post.

The size of the camera sensor, the focal length of the lens, aperture size or f stop and the distance from the camera to the focus point all have an impact on the available Depth of Field (DOF).  All of these issues work together to either create a broad flat DOF curve or a steep DOF curve.

Lens Minimum Focus Distance

Technical Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Do you know what your Lens Minimum Focus Distance is?

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where our camera won’t take an image.  One of the reasons this might occur is because each lens has a minimum focal distance. If we try to focus at a distance less than the minimum focus distance for that lens, the camera will not lock focus and will not take an image. This applies even if we try to manually focus the lens.

Glossary and Other Helps

Glossary of Photographic terms,  Trouble Shooting Guide and Revision Schedule

We have created a Glossary of photographic terms to help students gain a better understanding of the subjects being discussed. This Glossary  is a work in progress. You can find the Glossary in the footer menu under Learn More. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for photographic terms that could be added to the glossary.

Creating Portraits using a 50mm lens with a f/1 native aperture

Using a 50mm lens with f/1 native aperture for portraits

Some of our students have purchased some of the very fast 50mm lenses with native apertures in the f/1 range. These lenses are great for low light situations where you need higher shutter speeds to be able to hand hold the camera.  When combined with a higher ISO you can shoot handheld in some very low lighting situations.

Many of those students have been disappointed with their Depth of Field (DOF) results when shooting close up images with these lenses at f/1 to f/2. Particularly head shot portraits where the person’s head and shoulders fill the frame. They were hoping to get backgrounds that were unrecognizable and completely blurred out while their subject was in focus.

DOF and Hyperfocal Distance

Technical Level: Intermediate-Advanced

DOF and Hyperfocal Distance


The Hyperfocal Distance (HD) is an optically calculated constant based on the combination of lens focal length and f stop.  It is used to determine what the best focal distance would be to gain maximum DOF.  If your camera focuses at the HD, any object beyond the HD will be in acceptably sharp focus. With the camera focus set at HD, most items in front of the HD will be in acceptably sharp focus. You should run a DOF calculation to see how far the Near Focus Limit extends in front of the focal distance.   You can still focus where every you want to focus at any focal distance from the camera. If you focus at a distance less than the HD, everything behind the HD will not be in acceptably sharp focus.