Exercise 2.6

Use a combination of wide apertures, long focal lengths and close viewpoints to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field. Try to compose the out-of-focus parts of the picture together with the main subject.

With shallow depth of field, the subject really stands out, but the out-of-focus areas help to set the scene and are important in the building of a pleasing composition.

Exercise 2.5

Find a subject in front of a background of depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom in. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the focus to infinity and take a second shot.

As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition?

The first image has the flowers in focus and the eye is instantly drawn to them as there is a shallow depth of field and they stand out from the blurred background.

By setting the camera to infinity, the background comes more into focus and the foreground becomes blurred. This image is way harder to look at as there is nothing in the foreground for the eye to immediately rest on.


Exercise 2.4

Find a location with good light for a portrait shot. Place your subject some distance in front of a simple background and select a wide aperture together with a moderately long focal length. Take a viewpoint about one and a half metres from your subject, allowing you to compose a headshot comfortably within the frame. Focus on the eyes and take the shot.

f4.0, ISO:250, 100mm, 1/400

The background blur created by the shallow depth of field makes the subject stand out really well. The long focal length (100mm) slightly compresses the features in a flattering way, so is ideal for portrait photography.