Low Aperture Focus Issues | Photography FAQ

It’s January 1st guys!

I mentioned on Facebook yesterday how the move from one year to the next has begun to mean less and less to me over the years. Not to be a downer, but just expressing a thought I had. Mainly to say that you shouldn’t get too down on yourself if you find that you’re not yet seeing big improvements on things you’d like to change. Change takes time and you don’t need to wait for the beginning of a year, month, or week to start working towards your goals :)

And that made me think… I know folks have photography goals and I get asked a lot of photography related questions, so starting today, there will be a new feature to the blog! I will post the answers to photography-related questions! I’m sure others have wondered these same things, so I hope this will be a helpful new feature!

Today’s question? Low Aperture Focus Issues

“Hello Danielle!

I need some help if you don’t mind. I have attached two photos, both of which one or two people are in focus but not all and I really don’t know what I am doing wrong. I can never get everyone in the photo in focus. These where my settings for these photos: We were indoors ISO 640 50mm f 1.8 1/60. I have tried researching the issue but I don’t think I am coming up with the correct information.

Thank you for your time!”



Hey Dorothy!

So this is actually a fairly simple issue :) When shooting multiple subjects at such a low aperture, you’ll need to make sure they are all on the same plane or as close to the same plane as possible.

In the first photo, the father is too far behind mom & daughter, so he will be much more out of focus. If they were positioned so that the father & mother were sitting side by side (baby on their lap) and their faces down near hers, you could focus on the baby and since the parents’ faces won’t be so far back, they won’t be as out of focus. Similar to this:


Or both parents could have both been laying on their stomach on either side of baby girl and all 3 of their faces could have been on the same plane.


When I shoot small families like this, if the child is in the frame, almost always, they are where I focus and I just make sure the parents aren’t too far away or that they are positioned in such a way that their not being in focus is flattering. Maybe something like this:


Inevitably whoever is closest to the camera should be in focus so if you don’t want one person in the photo to seem more important than the others, either make sure everyone is on the same plane or raise your f/stop so that you don’t have as shallow a depth of field.

Hopefully this helped!


If you have a photography-related question that you’d like to see answered here, email me! Let me know what you think of the new feature :)