Shallow Depth of Field Photography Matches

Photography Experiment: Shallow Depth of Field

Shallow Depth of Field Photography Matches
Mode: A priority | Aperture: f/5.3 | Shutter Speed: 1/125sec | ISO: 400

Creating a shallow depth of field (DoF) in your photographs is really quite easy and it looks amazing.

When I first began experimenting with depth of field I switched my camera to Aperture Priority Mode (A on the dial) and changed my aperture to the widest (smallest f number) it would allow at my desired focal length.

I chose Aperture Priority so I could focus on changing just the aperture setting to get that shallow DoF while the camera took care of the other exposure settings for me.

Then, I focused on an element in either the foreground or the background to leave room in the frame for the shallow DoF blur or bokeh.  This is an especially pleasing technique to use when photographing people but you can get creative and use it whenever it serves your creative purpose like in food photography for example.

  • Select Aperture Priority mode
  • Set aperture to max (smallest f number)
  • Focus on something in fore or background
  • Voila!
Shallow Depth of Field Photography Matches
Mode: A priority | Aperture: f/5.6 | Shutter Speed: 1/160sec | ISO: 400

I’ve included the images I made when I first experimented with DoF and the settings in case you’re interested.  Before I got out the matches I had already used all kinds of household objects placed at varying distances from one another to see the effects.  In the end, I really liked how well the matches showed the shallow DoF a wide aperture can create.

This was done with a Nikon D40x, an entry level dslr, so don’t think you need a top of the range camera to try this.

There are other elements that affect depth of field so if you’re interested I recommend reading further.  There are loads of photography blogs out there; one of my favourites is Digital Photography School.  Check out this post on the DPS site: How to Take Control of Aperture and Create Stronger Photos




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Verity M

Freelance Writer. Love Reading, Photography, & Life Design. I'm all about Curiosity & Creativity.

4 thoughts on “Photography Experiment: Shallow Depth of Field”

  1. Love this post. I just got a mirrorless camera recently and am struggling to learn how to go beyond the basics. I find a lot of photography blogs very hard to follow and don’t really address a newbie like me. Your post was on point and the photo very inspiring. Thanks 🙂

    1. Thanks Nish! So glad you found it helpful. Working on more photography posts which I hope will be equally helpful to you. I’m fascinated by the mirrorless cameras! I have been oggling the Sony ones for a while now. Which one did you get and do you like it?

      1. I got the Nikon J5. I really loved the Olympus ones, but the price was too good for the Nikon, and so I eventually went with that one.

        Loving it so far, although it’s not the greatest in dim lighting and video is also sub-par.

        The plus points are the super-crisp photographs and the ease of transfer to my phone through wifi.

        I am still figuring things out camera and photography-wise. It’s a huge leap from my old point and shoot.

      2. I love Nikon, it’s always a good choice. I find the experimenting, or trial and error ;), is a huge part of the joy of photography. And with your new camera you have so much more creative control! Exciting! Enjoy it Nish, I look forward to seeing your photos.

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