Friday, July 2, 2010

Cheat sheet: Shallow Depth Of Field (DOF)

Welcome to Cheat Sheet! This series is intended for photographers who want to see instant results, no experience required, you only need to know the common vocabulary used by photographers. Expect only short tips for easy and fast reading. For best results, shoot after reading!

The topic in this article is about Shallow depth of field and this effect can be used for still life or portraiture. The DOF is dependent on the camera you use, the range of aperture of your lens and your shooting distance so one shooter may have different results from the other.

The photo flower photo is an example of Shallow DOF where the subject in the foreground is sharp and the background is blurred. Note that it is still shallow DOF if the background is sharp and foreground is blurred. There you go that is your brief intro on shallow DOF.

Ways of doing it, here's how:

1. Aperture
In your Aperture setting (read camera manual) set it to the lowest number possible. This can be done in manual mode or easier if done in Aperture priority.

2. Use macro
By coming closer to you subject or shooting it in close range you blur the background. you may do this using macro lens or the macro mode in your camera. The macro lens is best used for nature and still life subjects.

3. Longer focal length = shallow DOF
Longer focal lengths such as 200mm or more produces shallow DOF. So the next time you shoot a subject and you want to create the shallow DOF effect Zoom your lens.

4. Keep subject away from the background
By keeping the subject far from the background the more shallow the background becomes.

Photo from