A Short Course Book
Using Your Digital Camera
A Guide To Great Photographs

Using Shallow Depth Of Field

 
Click to explore selective focus.
 
 
Here attention is drawn to the sharp monarch butterfly caterpillar and the boy's face is soft and less distracting, but sharp enough that you can see the expression.
Shallow depth of field, sometimes called selective focus, is a great way to isolate a subject from a distracting foreground or background. When everything in a picture is equally sharp, the viewer gives equal attention to all parts of the scene. But if some parts of an image are sharp and others are not, the viewer is drawn to the sharpest part. You can selectively focus the camera and your viewer's attention on the most important part of the scene by limiting depth of field so the significant elements are sharp while the foreground and background are less so.

Only the bubble gum blower is sharp while figures in the foreground and background aren't.
 
Digital cameras have great depth of field so you have to really push the limits to see the effects of selective focus. Move close, zoom in, and select a wide aperture.
 
HOW TO: DECREASING DEPTH OF FIELD

. Photograph in dim light to open up the aperture.
. Zoom the lens in or use a long lens to enlarge the subject.
. Move closer to the subject.
. Use aperture-priority mode and select a large aperture such as f/4.


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