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How To Get More Depth of Field On An Interior Shot

Published: 13/09/2016

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focusstackingRecently Tim asked:

I shoot 360 degree virtual tours.  I shoot f8 @ 200.  How can I increase my depth of field?

I just so happens I was watching a video on Architectural photography by Richard Klein and he illustrated focus stacking on an interior shot. Since I like Macro photography, I've done this on Macro shots but never even thought of doing it on an interior shot since with a wide angle lens depth of field is never a problem. But you can do exactly the same focus stacking on an interior shot. Here is a focus stacking tutorial. Just do this on your interior shot. You won't need as many different shots as you would with a Macro shot but this will extend the depth of field of your lens.

Larry Lohrman

8 comments on “How To Get More Depth of Field On An Interior Shot”

  1. If you start thinking of focus stacking RE images, just send me all of your money so you go broke all at once instead of dying a slow death. Post production will be tediously slow. Are you shooting f8 at ISO 200 or 200mm? With a wide angle lens, your depth of field is going to be huge and f7.1/f8 is a good starting point. Where you focus in the scene will have some impact, but not a huge amount. There are several photo calculation apps for Android and iPhone that will figure out what your depth of field is for a given (35mm equivalent) focal length and focusing distance. DoF has never been an issue for me on interior work.

    Richard Klein's video was a bit too artsy for me. Scott Hargis' Lynda videos are much more in tune with what a RE photographer needs to know to make a good living. The latest 2 vids, Kitchen and Exterior Twilight, show more techniques to take your images that extra mile once you've mastered the basics. I'm hoping that Lynda will continue will the series and Scott will be able to teach how to deal with extreme interiors.

    I've never seen anybody advocating focus stacking for RE work.

  2. Focus stacking works great if you're really adept with Photoshop and can work quickly, but short of big budget shoots, it's probably not practical from a cost/benefit perspective. Instead, you can take advantage of the hyperfocal distance principle by manually focusing into the middle area of your shot to maximize the coverage of your focal plane, and stop down to f/11 or f/16. If you have a tilt-shift lens, the Scheimpflug law can also be useful to increase your plane of focus, but probably overkill and may throw off the nodal point of the lens, messing up how your 360 stitches together. Good luck...

  3. In RE, you need to be quick on the turnaround, much like a F1 pit team: Quick on the turnaround with excellent results given a particular time frame. If you take too much time shooting and processing they won't really understand much and will go to another who will do the same quicker. That is why Scott's tutorials are great because he focuses on that. You will have great shots and fast results so your client can have the pics out there and start making money. The more money he makes the more YOU make... circle of life 😉

  4. Uh, how about just going to F11 or F13? That will help and at those numbers you shouldn't have problem with sensor dust (or you could clean your sensor). I use F11 and F13 all the time and I find my interior photos are sharp and in focus.

  5. I'm afraid I don't understand the necessity of this in 99.9% of interior situations, regardless of whether it's a real estate shoot or something else. Is it possible the OP is experiencing some issues with softness due to improper focusing techniques at f/8 or f/11? Re-reading the OP's question, it looks like he's shooting specifically for 360-degree tours, which it seems would make it virtually impossible to create enough focus-stacked images to then be stitched together.

  6. We need more info from Tim before any of us can give useful advice. He didn't say what kind of camera or lens he's using, or what "200" means. For all we know, he's using a $100 toy camera and no amount of aperture will fix a plastic lens. So if you're reading, Tim, please give us more info. We're all happy to help.

  7. I shoot Google Street View Tours of businesses as well as 360 tours of real estate. I use a D90 with a Sigma 8mm lens. At f8 I have no problem with dof on a lens that wide.

  8. Clearly the people commenting here have never actually done focus stacking, which is very, very easy. It's also completely unnecessary for interiors work in all but the most unusual circumstances.
    Tim ought to get a good DoF calculator for his phone and learn to use it, but I'm guessing that the issue isn't really DoF at all.

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