An adaptive depth sensing system (ADSS) illuminates a scene with a pattern that is constructed based on an analysis of at least one prior-generated depth map. In one implementation, the pattern is a composite pattern that includes two or more component patterns associated with different depth regions in the depth map. The composite pattern may also include different illumination intensities associated with the different depth regions. By using this composite pattern, the ADSS can illuminate different objects in a scene with different component patterns and different illumination intensities, where those objects are located at different depths in the scene. This process, in turn, can reduce the occurrence of defocus blur, underexposure, and overexposure in the image information.