• Elizabeth Collado

Photography Tip Series - Depth | Williamsburg, Virginia || Elizabeth Collado Photography



Today’s tip is brought you you today by “I’m embracing the cold weather because I’m over it but trying to stay positive”. Ha ha ha

Today we are talking depth!

Take this winter post photo as the first example. You are able to see the focal point up close but depth is shown with a blurry background. It’s a beautiful image! Hold up - What is focal point? That is where the photographer wants to draw the most interest in their photograph. In this image it is the snow covered bush to the right of the image.

While I was taking some shots during our Easter Mini Session shoot I wanted to show examples of depth specifically for you all!

I want to first express that depth is wonderful but it’s not necessary for every photo. It’s adds a sense of sophistication of your overall image and allows your subject to POP off of the background. Again if you take a look back at the snowy image you will immediately notice the snow covered bush to the right because it pops off the background.

Let’s take it back to when we were kids- we were shoved up against the wall and lined up when it was time to take a photo. Photography has evolved since then and styles have changed but there is definitely still a time and place for up against the wall photos.

My good friend Jeri is an absolute stunner!


We were working with a company to photograph their jewelry and I used the background to add contract to the image. There is no depth in this image and it is still beautiful. So I want to make sure that you know that all images don't have to have depth to be wonderful, but when it is present it adds another layer of sophistication. It also good to point out that when you are taking fun candid shots your kids or friends, depth isn't always something that is attainable. Sometimes it is important to capture the moment before it passes.

Here is a great example of depth. Sweet Norah was looking oh so beautiful in her Easter dress during her shoot. I placed her up pretty close to the backdrop for this shot. You are able to see her very clearly, as well as all of the details in the background. This is an example of an image that lacks depth. Is it a beautiful image - ABSOLUTELY- I mean look at that face!!!



Here Sophia is standing up away from the background. If you know Sophia you know why (She never sits still) ha ha ha


Sophia and all of her details are very clear but the background details are blurry. You can see them and they add to the image but they are not the focal point. You are able to see the depth between Sophia and the background.

Depth is something that can be specific to a photographer's style. You probably have photographers who you follow because you love the style and over all look of their photographs. Some love the look of a blurry background and other prefer a crisp bold background. That is one of the many things that makes photography so great- Its an art form so there isn't one way to do things. My photography mentor utilizes depth of field in all of her images. I have learned so much from her and I choose to learn specifically from her because I love her photography style.

Let me show you a few more examples of Depth!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kaitlyn for her professional headshots. If you have had a session with me, you know that I am obsessed with options. You are making an investment in professional photography, so you should be given as many options as possible when deciding on the beautiful custom artwork that you will place in your home. BUT headshots should not be any different. Your headshot is your opportunity to make a great first impression. This may be for your website, a job application, or your professional online profile.

When Kaitlyn and I talked at her consultation, she explained she was hired at a new law firm and needed an image for their website and her online profile. I immediately thought of all of the great spots we could shoot. I grabbed chair from my living room and added it to the studio as an option. She looks like a BOSS! You will notice that this image lacks depth. The arm of the chair is slightly blurred but nothing like the prior examples. It is a beautiful image and it made her top 3 picks!


Because I wanted to make sure she had options to choose from, we also took a trip outside of the studio. I explained that we would be in front of a tree line but I ensured her she would look great and pop off the background. This shows a great example of depth. You can see that she is outside but you would never know that there were leaves all over the place as the main focus is her beautiful face!


Adding depth to your images will come easier and easier once you start to practice. Here are some pointers.

Adding depth to your images:

If using an iPhone (portrait mode is basically creating depth for you. But you will notice you have to be a certain distance away from your subjects). Try and make sure there is space between your subjects and the background you are using. I don't believe android user have this feature but I may be incorrect.

If you are using a DSLR you want to lower your f-stop to at least 3.5. Some lenses will not go below 4.) If that is the case, also try and add as much distance between your subject and the background. If there is light shining in the background you will notice a glow to your image which is always nice!

If your husband is holding your baby, put your focal point on your baby's face and allow some distance between them and dad. This will keep dad's face just slightly out of focus and add in some depth.

My challenge to you- Tomorrow- or the next time you take a photo, try to add in some depth. Practice makes perfect!

Join our Facebook Community and post your photos so that we can all see. Have a question? Id be happy to help in any way that I can.

Feel like you have a grasp on the concept of Depth? Take a look through the ECP website and see which images you can find that have a lot of depth to them.

Happy Shooting everyone!


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