mycamera 101: How to Achieve Shallow Depth of Field Photography

Shallow depth of field (DOF) photography is the art of shooting a crystal clear subject in the foreground while the background is out of focus. Done well, this creates a beautiful, dreamlike image. Learn how to get a shallow depth of field and start practising this technique yourself.


Taking it all into Account


Several things affect the depth of field. The first to consider is the size of the sensor in your camera, as larger sensors make achieving shallow DOF effects easier. Smaller sensors, on the other hand, make it easier to adjust the sharpness of a scene.


There are easier and more cost effective ways of achieving shallow depth of field that don’t require you to change your camera body.


Other factors that you need to consider when shooting shallow depth of field photography include:


  • Aperture - Small apertures increase the sharpness of a scene and how much of your subject that appears clearer in the final image, while larger apertures decrease sharpness.
  • Focal length - If you have a long lens, you’ll achieve a more exaggerated shallow depth of field effect with wider apertures. However, using a wide angle lens has the converse effect.
  • Focusing - Your depth of field becomes shallower the closer you are to the subject. Finding the right balance takes some time and tinkering, but you’re sure to get it right with practice.


Let Your Creativity Run Wild


One of the best things about shallow depth of field photography is that you can capture almost any subject using the technique. The options are almost unlimited, so not matter what you enjoy photographing there’s plenty of room for experimentation.


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