Photo Tip Friday: Hold your Lens Parallel to your Subject

by Mary Denman  @MaryDenman

There are times in your photography when you need to be aware of the relationship between your lens and your subject. 

Specifically, when you want to make sure that your subject is uniformly in focus, but you're using a narrow depth of field/focus.

Let's look at some examples.

COLLAGE 1 shows three photos of the same leaf of Caladium, taken with the same aperture.

COLLAGE 1: The relationship between the lens and the subject.
The first shot was taken with my lens and the leaf parallel to each other. By doing this, you'll notice that almost all of gorgeous green and red of the Caladium is clear.

Then, I moved to the foot of the leaf. Notice the narrow band that's in focus on the second shot.

For the third one, I moved to the side of the leaf. Again, notice that the entire leaf is not in focus. Only a portion is. 

TIP 1: Make sure your lens is parallel to a subject that you want to be uniformly in focus. 

Let's look at another example.

Here's a lovely shot of Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota).

I made sure to lean over to get my lens parallel to the flat head of the flower. 

This allowed an in-focus shot of the entire head of the flower. 

Then I took another shot. 

As you can see, the entirety of the flower is no longer in focus. 

With these two examples, you can see how different the same subject looks from different angles. They were taken seconds apart.

This is because the perspective of where you stand in relation to your subject makes such a difference. 

TIP 2: Change your perspective when photographing a subject. Take more than one shot from a different angle. You'll be surprised at how much you can improve by doing this! 

So, if you want to make sure your subject is uniformly in focus, keep your lens parallel to your subject. 

Find a subject around your home or in your garden to practice on. You can use a wall, a book, or a broad leaf to practice on. 
Take pictures with your lens parallel to the subject. If you have a zoom feature, take it a step further and take the same subject at different focal lengths. 
Then, move to a different angle and try the subject from there. 

CELL PHONE USERS: The exact same principles apply to your cell phone that apply to a DSLR or a point-and-shoot. Hold your phone parallel to your subject to keep it all in focus. 

BLOGGERS: Keep honing your skills and populate your blog with great photos! 

Hope these tips help!
Keep on clicking.


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  1. Great tips Mary, love how different the 2 flower pictures look :)

    Thanks for sharing at the weekend blog hop

  2. Great info Mary--thanks! I never knew any of this.

  3. Great post with good info! Thanks for helping so many bloggers and non-bloggers with photography. My weekend post with linky:

  4. Great tips, Mary.
    I hope you'll consider adding my blog badge to your list - the code is on my sidebar. Also remember... Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) will be opening again tomorrow as Tuesday dawns down under - hope to see you there!

  5. Good Afternoon Mary, Thank you so much for this photography tip. I shall be practicing this week. I have to admit my photographs are getting better and better and it is thanks to lovely bloggers, such as yourself, who are kind enough to share their knowledge.
    Have a lovely day.
    Best wishes