Get Group Shots with Crisp Detail from Depth of Field

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Because depth of field is basically how much of your image is in focus and is determined by your aperture setting, understanding it is key to getting good group photos of your dogs or dogs and humans. With so many different subjects, you need to stay focused on what’s in focus.

To make sure that all your subjects are in focus, your efforts must start before you even pick up the camera (but after the pep talk you give yourself in private, of course). Begin by setting up the humans in the group first.

Arrange them so they’re all roughly on the same plane, or distance from the camera.


24mm, 1/160 sec., f/9.0, 200

After you set up the humans, insert the dog into the group and dial in your aperture setting. Try to keep your aperture small (around f/11.0 or higher) so you can make sure that all your subjects are in focus. If you set your aperture to a low number (which actually opens the aperture wider), you’ll likely end up with some blurry subjects in the group.

You don’t always have to follow these guidelines. Now that you understand a little about how depth of field pertains to group shots, feel free to experiment with different setups, such as a shot where one of the subjects is in focus and the others aren’t.