The ability to create realistic depth in a photograph (rendering), a 2-dimensional plane, is the sign of a good photographer (rendering) When shooting stills or video, it’s an important detail to make sure your shots have depth. Sometimes, however, that is sometimes easier said than done. In the quick, 3-minute video clip below, cinematographer Matthew Rosen, covers his top 5 favorite ways to ensure his image aren’t falling flat. The video is geared towards cinematography and moving pictures, but many of the techniques can be transferred into still photography as well. Well worth a watch even if you never shoot video.


In the beginning of the clip, Rosen explains why it’s important to have depth in an image, “It’s always my goal when I shoot to give this 2D image as much depth as I possibly can. The more tricks you have up your sleeve to conjure up depth, the more you will immerse your audience.” In order to achieve it, he suggests using these old tricks of the trade:

  • Lighting And Shadow – Use a higher contrast between light and shadow to create a deeper feel.
  • Focus – Use a shallow depth of field to create a visual of distance between subjects.
  • Perspective – Use a perspective that creates a convergence of parallel lines (think leading lines) to simulate a deep depth of field.
  • Parallax – Objects closest to the camera will appear to move quicker than those in the background.
  • Occlusion – A type of transition in which a foreground subject completely covers a subject in the background as the camera pans behind the foreground subject.

Let’s listen to Rosen break it down in the video clip:

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