Monthly Archives: Jan 2019

Depth of Field

Lens Depth of Field

To begin with, depth of field (DOF), what it is and how to understand how to use it.

DOF can be viewed as the amount of a picture that is in focus. As a matter of fact, this could be a short/narrow DOF to a long and wide DOF. Generally speaking, three factors determine the DOF.

The focal length of the lens

In the first place, the focal length of the lens is the ability of a lens to magnify the image of a distant subject. As a result, it is the distance in mm from the optical centre of a lens to a point where a subject at infinity appears in sharp focus. This is usually the cameras digital sensor. In this case, think of this as the physical length of a lens in very simple terms.

Picture of Focal Length Headshots


In the first place, each lens has a maximum aperture and a minimum aperture. As an illustration, the range could be from f2.8 to f22. In other words, this means the amount of light that can enter through the lens. At the same time, the small f-number (f2.8) allows loads of light to enter the aperture which is wide open. On the contrary, the large f-number (f22) allows the smallest amount of light in. As a result, this means the aperture hole is small.

Sample of aperature openings headshots


Different distances decide what the DOF is likely to be. If you are photographing something at distance you are going to get an image where most things are in focus. This may mean that anything close to the camera is out of focus. On the other hand, if you photograph something close then the subject close to the camera will be in focus. You will also notice that the background is blurred or out of focus.

What DOF can do for you?

A shallow depth of field is great if you want to make your subject stand out. That’s a portrait subject with a nice out of focus background. This means the subject stands out no distracting background.

For a landscape photograph, the camera’s lens can only focus on a single point. This means that areas before and after this point will appear out of focus. Although in reality, the area in focus will be a lot of the image. The out of focus will be near and far away from the lens.

Picture of a candle holder at f2.8 Depth of Field
Candle Holder at f2.8
Picture of a candle holder at f8 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f8
Picture of a candle holser at f22 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f22
Picture of a candle holder at f32 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f32

DOF Apps

The Depth of Field is notoriously difficult to work out when you first start to understand it. The good thing is that apps for mobile phones are available that take the guesswork out of it. For apple phones here is a link.

To find out more contact Martin

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In the first place as a photographer what use are drones to my business? As a result, what services are appropriate for the photography work that I undertake?

Classes of Drones

Therefore, most people think of drones as being a pilotless vehicle. In fact some drones are big and some are small.

  • In the first place, the big drones are referred to as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). In this case, they are likely to be Military or research vehicles and generally 150kg plus. As a result, these are not drones that most photographers might consider using.
  • Likewise the next size down is the light UAS between 20kg and 150kg. For one thing, these may be a bespoke unit and have various uses. By the same token, it is not likely that this would be a vehicle of use to my business.
  • The last size of the drone is 7kg and below. Accordingly, these are the most common type of drones for ariel photography/videography. It is this class of drone that is most useful for my type of photography. These are referred to as Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA).

Use of the drone for Aerial Photography

In reality, taking photographs from above allows for a different perspective of a subject. This includes:-

  1. Property Residential & Commercial
  2. Trains
  3. Cars
  4. People
  5. Landscape
  6. Boats/Ships
  7. Photographing areas that are hard to reach.
  8. Site surveying
  9. Environmental
  10. Insurance
  11. Sports
  12. Marketing
Picture of a drone on a green background drones

Flying with a drone.

Likewise, drones are available from different manufacturers and come in a variety of models. The first thing to remember is that by using your drone to make money you are required in the UK to have a Permission for Commercial Operation (PFCO) certificate. The PFCO certificate is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority but only after meeting the strict criteria. This also means following the aviation rules that cover drone flying.

To clarify the passage below is straight from The Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations CAP393
Meaning of “commercial operation”
7. For the purposes of this Order, “commercial operation” means any flight by a small unmanned aircraft except a flight for public transport, or any operation of any other aircraft except an operation for public transport—
(a) which is available to the public; or
(b) which, when not made available to the public,
(i) in the case of a flight by a small unmanned aircraft, is performed under a contract between the SUA operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the remote pilot; or
(ii) in any other case, is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator,
in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration

Commercial Flying

If you have not met the criteria for a PFCO then you are only allowed to fly your Drone as a hobbyist. As a result, this places a lot of restrictions on the person flying the drone.

In summary, you have to comply with the Aviation Law for the UK. Failure to comply when things go wrong will result in the owner of the drone being prosecuted.

For this reason, I have now undertaken the drone training and passed the theory and practical tests. Coupled with this to comply with the CAA regulations I have had to compile an operations manual. As a result, this has to clearly show how I will operate the business and take into consideration emergency procedures.

Next Steps

In this case, I have received my operations manual back from NATS. Accordingly, they have checked the manual to ensure that there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. As a result, my next step is to buy insurance and then complete the application form to submit to the CAA.

It’s important to realise, that when the CAA are happy they will issue the PFCO. As a result, I can then undertake commercial operations for Ariel Photography/videography.

For further information on these services contact Martin now.

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In this case, this blog is about Studio Lighting Setup.

To begin with, in the last blog I wrote about the choice of studio lights available. As can be seen, in this blog, I am going into a bit more detail about setting the lights up.

Coloured/Dark backdrops.

Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous blog, for this type of backdrop four lights give you a good photo. In this case, my studio lighting setup for four lights is:-

  1. Main/key light.
  2. Fill light
  3. Hair light
  4. Backdrop light

Studio Lighting Setup

Main Light

In this case, the lights placed to one side of the camera to highlight the subject. Therefore this lights one side of the subject. In general, the light level for this would be around f8-f11.

Fill light

Generally speaking, you would place this light on the opposite side of the camera that the main light is on. In contrast, the role of this light is to put light into any shadow created by the main light. To clarify, it lifts the shadows and is not a strong light. In general, the light level for this would be f5.6-f8.

Hair Light

In addition, the hair lights placed at a high level over the top or at the side of the backdrop. In this case, this light lights the hair of the subject. The typical value for light level is f5.6

Coloured/Dark Backdrop Lighting

Accordingly, this lights placed low level behind the subject light the backdrop. In like manner, the light level is similar to the hair light.

Diagram for coloured/dark background STUDIO LIGHTING SETUP

White Backdrops

In this case, the main light and fill stay in place. At the same time, the hair and backdrop lights become redundant. With this in mind, place these lights to the side to illuminate the white backdrop. In this case, the lighting levels for the two side light is around f11. Equally important the lights must light the backdrop evenly.

Diagram for white background STUDIO LIGHTING SETUP

As an illustration, the diagrams above should help with you setting up your lighting for profile headshots. However, feel free to contact me if you require help.

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