Using a shallow depth of field is one of the most exciting approaches to picture taking. Unfortunately it is one of the most neglected and misunderstood.

Generally you want to select A or Av mode, that is aperture priority. Select your biggest aperture that is the f stop with the smallest number e.g. f/3.5 or f/2.8. This will have the shallowest depth of field. With most lenses being of a zoom design the widest aperture is likely to be limited to these sorts of figures. With a prime lens you are far more likely to get apertures like f/2, f/1.8 or even f/1.4. Depth of field here will be dramatically shallower. Selectively focus on the subject to reveal an element which you feel is key to the whole. You will need to use focusing with a precise area mode e.g single point or use manual focusing. You won’t see the depth of field effect before you take the picture. In the reviewed image there should be significant blurring outside the depth of field area.

To summarise:

  • Select A (or Av) mode – aperture priority
  • Select your widest aperture i.e. the smallest f number
  • Use a precise means of focusing e.g. AF-S in single point area mode

This is a really classy and sophisticated look which introduces a whole new aspect of interest into the image. It really is worth getting this into your working repertoire!

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