February 15, 2011

using selective focus to overcome lack of depth of field

When you don’t have enough depth-of-field, to get all the essential elements in focus, there is always the option to use a sequence of images and selective focus. In this case, a cute story in two images.

This little flowergirl was especially enamored of her digital camera, and would snap everything, and immediately chimp. But instead of keeping my focus on her, I immediately refocused on the little boy to show his querying expression. If I had kept my focus for on her for the next shot as she looked at her camera, there would’ve been a less interesting sequential flow to the images. Her looking at the back of her camera is a near-inevitable ‘conclusion’. One we already expect.

By shifting focus on the boy however, our attention moves across the frame. That natural flow in the sequence of the two images is now helped by the selective focus. Instead of the lack of depth-of-field hampering the initial image, by switching attention in the next image, it helps direct our attention.


recommended lenses

A fast telephoto zoom is ideal for such selective focus techniques where shallow depth of field is used to separate your subject from the background. Or foreground.

More info on making your images pop through shallow depth-of-field.


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{ 6 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Sašo February 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

Hi Neil. Great example on technique, which sometimes we all forget. :) If I may ask, how did you change your focus in this situation? Middle point and re-adjust focus or do you switch among focus points? I guess it was re-adjust with one same selected focus point, right? What is your “normal” focusing procedure during these kind of ceremonies? Re-adjusting with only centre point?
Best regards.


2 Jan February 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

For us crop shooters, lack of DOF is never a problem. It’s always too much DOF!


3 AzzQim February 16, 2011 at 7:51 am

Jan, use fullframe lenses and it’s fixed :D


4 Doug Ford February 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm

That’s a very fun pair of shots. This is a great idea, to move our attention across the frame in sequence. I look forward to trying this.


5 Owen Schebella February 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Great point Neil, I’ve never actually thought of it like that. So simple yet so good. Thank you!
(btw, love how the little girl has her eye on the screen like an slr :D )


6 Aniversari February 17, 2011 at 3:27 am

Sweet, very sweet! Good advice to follow, telling the story this way.
Thank you, I will!


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