Making Your Focus Shallow

Shallow Focus

Shallow focus consists of a photography technique using a small field depth. Shallow focus allows one image plane to be in focus letting the other portion be unfocused. Shallow focus is most often used to make one portion of an image stand out over another. Photographers call the aesthetic attribute of the scene that is unfocused as bokeh.

Shallow focus on a Pink Rose

The opposite side of shallow focus, then is deep focusing, in where the total picture is in focus. This deep focus photographic style more closely resembles what the human eye sees.

The How To

The effect is obtainable by using a wider aperture, moving in closer, or using a lens with a longer focal length from a more far off distance. You could use a tilt lens in a reverse way to that's employed to increase focus depth. Adapters are even available to allow 35mm cine camera lenses to be mounted on smaller SLR film and DSLR formats.


Family snapshot of Emmalin, illustrating how snapshots generally capture memorable moments with family in imperfect images.
Family snapshot of Grandma Gina and Baby Emmalin, illustrating the front area in sharp focus while the
background has a  shallow focus (called bokeh).

updated article Oct 10, 2011

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