Get It All In Focus: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

In this episode I’ll show you how to
get everything in focus from the closest
object to the camera all the way to infinity. Adorama TV presents Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace. Hi everybody, welcome to this episode of
Exploring Photography I’m Mark Wallace. Well if your a scenic photographer or your
a photo journalist or your travel photographer sometimes
you want everything in focus and you can do that by understanding
what hyper focal distance is and what the hyper focal setting of your lens is. Now that seems sorta technical and
confusing but actually it’s pretty simple. First let me explain what hyper focal means. It’s the setting on your lens that gives
you the most depth of field, the most in focus and we
do that with the combination of our lens, an aperture value and how
far away we are focusing. Now every lens focuses at a distance. So you’re focusing five feet
away or 10 feet away or forty feet away and you’re using an
aperture value, the combination of those two can give
you different depth’s of field. Now our hyper focal distance just means that half that
distance whatever it is, maybe your focusing at 10 feet, half that distance to infinity are gonna be in focus. So let’s say you focus at ten feet. Well everything from five feet to
infinity will be in focus, it’s the most focus you can get for the lens that
you’re using. Now to make this simple you need to understand 3 things and that is the right lens to
use, the right aperture value to use and
where to focus your lens. So let’s start by talking about the lenses
that we want to use. If you want everything in focus you need
to start using a wide angle lens or use the wide angle part of your zoom lens. Now for this I highly recommend that you use a prime lens. One of those lenses that is set, it
doesn’t zoom in or zoom out. You want to use a wide prime lens if you
can. So something like a 35mm or 21mm or 28mm lens. Now I love my 35mm lens and I made a video all about that but for most in focus I really enjoy shooting with my
21mm lens and a 28mm is pretty good as well. The point is use a wide angle lens and
the other thing that you need to have on your lens is a distance scale. So when you’re
focusing your lens you need to be able to see how far
you’re focusing. You need to be able to look on your lens and say, I’m focusing at 3ft or 6ft
or 10ft. Most prime lenses have that. Some zoom
lenses have that but you need to have a distance scale and even better is if you have a depth
of field scale on your lens. Now this is a depth of field scale on my 21mm lens and it
will show me different aperture values, how much is in focus and
that makes the hyper focal stuff really easy but I’m getting ahead of
myself. So we want a wide angle lens preferrably a prime lens and we want one
at least a distance scale but at best a distance and depth of field scale. The next thing we
need to know is the aperture value to use. Now I know many times I’ve said and many photographers will tell you that you want a really small
aperture to get everything in focus. That can be a mistake because if you go all the way to the smallest aperture of your lens like f/22 or something like that, well you
get this thing called diffraction. Where light is bouncing around in weird ways inside
your lens and that can actually make your pictures look less sharp then if you shoot at a wider aperture, something like f/8 or f/11. You want to use the aperture
value that’s sort of in the middle. So f/8 or f/11 are your best choices. I highly recommend using f/8 if
you’re shooting at a 28mm or 21mm lens its gonna give you everything you
really want and it’s gonna be really clear. Now the last thing you need to
know is where to focus your camera. How far you need to focus. Well you need to know the first two things to figure out the third. You need to know which lens your using
and you need to know the aperture value and then you need to use something called a hyper
focal distance calculator. Ahh that sounds so
mathematical and horrible but actually it’s really easy because you only have to do this calculation one time and everything is gonna stay the same
for ever so if you’re using a 21mm lens and you’re shooting in
f/8 then your hyper focal distance is going to be the same every single time. So once you know it
you set your lens that same way every time and it’s going to work. Where do you find a hyper focal distance calculator? Well lucky for us there’s this awesome
website it’s called and there is a depth of field calculator there and all kinds of cool depth of field stuff so check that
out. You can put in your lens, your camera size
because your sensor size impacts depth of field the aperture value that you want
to use. I suggest f/8 or f/11. Click a little
button it will tell you exactly where to focus your lens. So once
you know all of that stuff and you’ve got your lens on then you can say, you know what I know it
f/8 at 21mm that my focus distance should be about six feet. So you would just go and focus at 6ft, set your aperture to f/8 and then you’re done. If you have a
depth of field guide on your lens like this one does
it’s even easier. You don’t have to go to that website and figure anything out. All you have to do is look at your depth of
field guide, set your aperture. So I’m gonna set mine at f/8 on this lens. If I had a different
lens maybe I would set my aperture value in the camera. It doesn’t matter how you
set your aperture you just have to said it first and then you look on the depth of field
guide and you just move the Infiniti until it lines up with the aperture
value your using. So for this instance it’s f/8 and you’re set.
That you’re hyper focal distance and then you can see that everything f/8 from infinity, all the way
over to about three feet is going to be in focus. Three-feet all
the way to infinity. If I change my aperture value to f/11, well then I would just shift this until my infinity is over the 11 and then everything it’s gonna be in
focus from, oh gosh about two feet all the way over to infinity. That’s all you have to do. Shooting with hyper focal is awesome because you get everything in focus. In fact here’s a
bunch of pictures I’ve used using this technique and you can see
everything from in this picture the flowers all the way to the French Senate building is in focus. You
can see I’ve shot street photography, scenic photography, some journalistic
kinda stuff using a wide angle lens. The right aperture value and the right
focus distance and the good news is once you’ve done
all this you put in your lens you put in your aperture value f/8 and
then you’ve set your distance, don’t focus again that’s a very
important! Make sure you have your lens set to
manual focus. If you’re using a DSLR camera there’s a gotcha because when you look
through the viewfinder of your DSLR camera the aperture is wide
open so you’re not seeing that everything is in focus you’re
seeing selective focus. If you wanna see everything that’s in focus there is a little button at the bottom your
camera it’s a depth of field preview button. If you push that, it will close down the aperture and then you’ll see that everything is in focus. Don’t be tempted to refocus because once
you have your focus set everything’s gonna be in focus just
trust it and then you can focus on your composition and you can just shoot away. The last
thing, you want to set your camera to aperture priority mode so that your
aperture stays the same and your shutter changes based on the light or shoot in manual mode if you want to but
once you have things set just forget it and have a blast just
look at what you want to take pictures of. Take those pictures you’ll see
everything’s in focusing your gonna get those everything close to infinity pictures
that you love and that you want and its totally liberating because our just kind of pointing and shooting and focusing on composition and storytelling and all the things that
make it fun to take pictures. So do that. That’s all there is to
hyper focus shooting. Get the right lens, right aperture value, figure out the
distance that you need to shoot set your lens forget it and just get out
there and shoot. Well thank you so much for joining me
for this episode is a bunch more about hyper focal distance and depth of field on the
Adorama Learning Center and on AdoramaTV we’ve posted links to it in the description of this video, So check those out if depth of field and those types of things are new to you and we have a long video about
hyper focus distance and what it all means and funny graphics and things like that. So you can check that one out as. Thank you so much for joining me in this episode of Exploring Photography.
Don’t forget to subscribe, just click that subscribe button everything single video is absolutely free. Thanks again and i’ll see you again next time. Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service.
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