- Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
- Photography for Beginners: The Essentials You Must Know
- Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
The beauty of using a camera with interchangeable lenses, be it a mirrorless camera or a DSLR, is that you can chose where you want the focus to be. In other words, you don't have to make everything in the frame entirely visible. You do this by using shallow depth of field and selective focusing.
Most cameras have at least 11 autofocus points and multiple ways to use them. The simplest way to use selective focus is to use just one AF point, preferably the center one because it’s the most sensitive. It’s important to plan your frame before you take the shot, and that means deciding what the foreground and background will be, what should stay in focus and what shouldn’t.
Selective focusing is a little bit different than using a wide open aperture for shallow depth of field. If you shoot something at f2.8 or more, you will most likely get a very blurred background .When using selective focus, you still want someof the foreground or background to be visible, just not in focus.
A typical example would be a shot taken from a low perspective, all the way down from grass level. Let’s assume you want to capture something in the background, maybe a tree or a building, and you want to use the grass as an interesting foreground. To do that, you're going to have to frame the shot and then place the focus point (or points) on the background subject that you want nice and sharp. The aperture setting will vary depending on lighting conditions, but generally f/5.6 should be fine.
Here is Bryan Peterson with a great field demonstration for Adorama TV.