When the subject isn’t the subject

Oh, and a double posting today, because today is the last day to post a photo tip and and enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card at Beyond Megapixels. Did you do it yet?

In photographs, you can often tell a story in a different or unexpected way. For example, did you need Will’s face to know that he found this crab at the beach and was saying, “Mom! Look!” or does the story convey without it?

The next time you take photos, try using depth of field to isolate something that wouldn’t normally be the main subject of your photo, and see what interesting things you come up with.

How to do it?

1. Set your camera on aperture priority, and dial it down to the lowest f-stop you have. The lower the f-stop, the shallower your depth of field will be, or in other words, less of your photo will be in sharp focus. This is a good thing, because it allows you to isolate and feature something in your image.

For this picture, I used a 28-75 mm lens at f/2.8. If you’re using a kit lens (the one that came with your camera) you will probably be able to go to about 4.5. And if you have a 50 mm lens, you’ll be able to go to 1.8 or 1.4. (But if you have a 50mm 1.4, you aren’t reading photo tips from ME! :)

2. Using your focus points, compose your shot, keeping something other than the subject’s eyes in sharp focus. Make sure there is some space between what you are trying to isolate and the background. Experiment with keeping different aspects of the photo in focus and out of focus.

3. Press the shutter button, and there you have it!

Point and shoot users, you can do this too. Many point-and-shoot cameras offer aperture priority as a setting (called AV on Canons), or use your portrait setting and focus on your desired subject.

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10 Responses to “When the subject isn’t the subject”

  1. MelodyA. Says:

    Very cool shot, Anna.

  2. Heidi Says:

    Good luck, I hope you win!

  3. JenBun Says:

    You definitely don’t need his face to know that he is saying something like, “Look! A crab!”

    The picture just shouts “Look– a crabby!” 🙂

  4. abbey Says:

    I love it!!!
    I love the “detail” shots like this!!!

  5. Christina Says:

    You are so good at these posts…explaining in such simple, easy to understand terms.

  6. MelodyA. Says:

    Yay! Congrats on the win, just saw it right now!

  7. Chrissy Says:

    Thanks for the idea! I love photos like that. That photo is great. I love the colors and the angle – it definitely tells a story on its own!

  8. moosh in indy. Says:

    50mm 1.4, I can only dream. My mom said I had become awfully snotty about DOF and aperture for such a new DLSR user.
    Hello? Can you blame me?
    I love the crab shot.

  9. MGF Says:

    Nice shot. I love the background Bokeh.?. I think that is the term.

  10. Maya Says:

    Love this shot and I love some dof!

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