Friday Freebie #4 – Use shallow DOF for Portrait impact

The eyes are the most important feature of any head & shoulder portrait.  By using a very shallow depth of field we can emphasise the eyes even more.

In the example below I have used a 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.8.  Pre focus on the eyes to ensure they are pin sharp, by moving your focus point accordingly.   The shallow depth of field will now soften all the other features not in the focus range , giving even more impact to the eyes.

To get a better view of how effective this is, here is a 100% crop of same shot

Hope this has been of some use. Have a go & let me know how you get on

More Friday Freebies below :

Friday Freebie #10 – Example Studio Lighting setups with Photos
Friday Freebie #9 – How to create dramatic skies in Mono
Friday Freebie #8 – Shoot Upside Down for a change
Friday Freebie #7 – It’s all in the Eyes
Friday Freebie #6 – Child Portraits – How to get eye contact
Friday Freebie #5 – Diagonals & DOF
Friday Freebie #4 – Use shallow DOF for Portrait impact
Friday Freebie #3 – Sensual Couple Portraits
Friday Freebie #2 – Shallow DOF for Couples Portrait
Friday Freebie #1 – InfraRed Tutorial

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4 thoughts on “Friday Freebie #4 – Use shallow DOF for Portrait impact

  1. Fully agree with you, as I actually always move the focus point to be in correct position with the shot, to save recomposing & introducing focus errors.

    I actually wanted to create a diagram to show the problems with recomposing, but never got around to it. Your link saves me the effort 🙂

  2. I just ordered this lens. I heard with this lens, it takes some practice to get the focus right. When focusing on the eye, do you point the focus point on the eye closest to you? At what aperture is it tack sharp versus very soft?


  3. Hi Kim. Usually with most lenses their sweet spot is at least 1/2-1 stop in , in terms of being pin sharp. That said my copy of lens produced quality images even when wide open. Remember not to pixel peep too much & just print a shot to see what it looks like.

    Re focus, when wide open you don’t have much DOF to play with, so I try to move the focus point to match composition of shot (ie. If I want eyes in focus & they are on right 1/3 point of shot, I choose a focus point for that area. You don’t want to be locking focus & recomposing shot if possible. Re a portrait where model is at angle to you & therefore each on a different focus plane, I go for nearest one in focus, but you have to play & see what suits you

    Good luck with lens 🙂

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