Using depth of field creatively can make your focal point really stand out. In this quick tutorial we show you how to control depth of field to isolate subjects.
In the fight against distracting backgrounds, your aperture wheel is your biggest ally. Using a shallow depth of field to render your background out of focus will make your focal point stand out (so you’ll need to take care when focusing) as well as enhancing your image with pleasing out-of-focus areas or ‘bokeh’.
How to control depth of field
Shooting at an aperture of f/22 gives you an image that looks sharp throughout and, as a result, the subject can get lost. Small apertures (high f/stops) make busy scenes such as this one look like snapshots.
Taking the f-stop down to f/8 has made the image look less flat and one-dimensional, as the subject has been isolated a little. But the semi-blurred background is still distracting.
Opening the aperture to f/2.8 has given this image a lovely out-of-focus background, which in turn isolates the focal point leaves. It now looks creative and has a two-dimensional appearance.
Control depth of field carefully
Close-up studies, such as this lichen, lend themselves to shallow depths of field to isolate the subject. But even small apertures, such as f/22, can provide limited depth when working at such close distances.
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