Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Technique Tuesday - I Can't See The Forest For All The Trees

Today's post is very important for all portrait and wedding photographers out there. Too often a small F-stop ruins or becomes an obstacle for what could instead have developed into a beautiful image of the subject. We sometimes are too concerned with getting the subject in focus, which is indeed important, and then in effect many times put our backgrounds into too sharp of focus.

Hey gang, it's time to walk the thin line of large F-stops and shallow depth of field to make the subject really pop out of the scene. This tutorial shows you how to take some not so good looking backgrounds and turn them into a beautiful setting for a bridal portrait. I'll also show many examples as to how focal length together with aperture changes the final image for better or worse and how to get the best result on your next shoot. Enjoy! -David


  1. Mr. Ziser,

    My name is Michael Murphy, I live in Chaplin, CT.. I just came across your site the other day. I just looked at your video for today. I loved it, great tips. I am new at photography and your video explained quite a few things, such as the distance from camera to subject and distance from back ground to subject. Please keep up the post.

    Thanks, Mike.

  2. I just want to thank you for taking the time to make these great tutorials. You have made me a better photographer.

  3. Just would like to add my thanks as well David. I look forward to technique Tuesdays as I know you will always have a gem for me. The explanations are prefect for me, and like others have said, you have made me a better photographer.

  4. Thanks a lot for this David as the others have said this is very much appreciated.

    I've been using an 85mm f1.8 prime alot recently (about 127mm equivalent on my cropped frame camera). Given I can go up to 1.8, what's the largest aperture you would suggest for a head and shoulders portrait? Still f4?

    (Also a trick for fake blur in photoshop without the halo:- First cut your subject out before you apply lens blur to the layer. Then replace the subject. Because they're not in the blurred layer they aren't then smeared as a halo. Still not as good as the real thing I think but can be useful.)

    Thanks again,


  5. Thanks for your time, skill and patience in doing this tutorial. I'm sure it will be very useful to many people out there. Regards!