Macro & Close-ups

Shallow depth of field

Written by Gail Bjork

Throwing the background out of focus is desirable when taking macro shots.

A desirable effect when taking macro shots is to have a blurred background so attention is drawn to the main subject.

This artistic photographic effect, known as shallow depth-of-field, means a subject is in focus but objects in front and behind it appear out of focus.

Obtaining shallow depth of field

macro with shallow depth of fieldThe degree of depth-of-field is controlled primarily by the camera aperture. Using lower f-stops (larger apertures) decrease DOF.

Other factors that affect depth of field are the distance you are from a subject and the focal length used.

Use aperture priority mode if you’r camera has it, and change the aperture manually. Or switch to macro mode.

Many photographers us dedicated macro lenses, macro converter lenses or close-up filters for macro photography.

Where to focus

When taking macro shots, always focus on the area of the subject you consider most important, otherwise it may appear out of focus. This is critical when using a digital single lens reflex camera since depth of field is shallower than compact digital cameras.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.