Exercise 2. – Focus with a set aperture

Find a scene which has depth…

The main reason I wanted to get a DSLR camera is that all of my pictures had large depth of field so everything was sharp, it was no difference between the subject and the background which is most of the time quite distracting compare to pictures with clear subject and out of focus background. I reckon it is more appealing to the human eye when subjects are really stand out.

I went for a walk thinking I can find my subject outside but the rain has cancelled my plans quickly so I decided to create something with these photogenic tomatoes. For this exercise I used my Canon 60D with Sigma 30 mm f /1.4 DC Art lens, a tripod, a white paper board to get a perfect background and I positioned to the window to get as much natural light as possible. I always shoot in RAW to capture all image data recorded by the sensor which will allow me to get better quality pictures as well as correct problems when it comes to post-processing. Having said that I have adjusted the exposure and I have enabled lens correction in order to get rid of the minimal amount of vignetting.

I took all three photos with same settings, the largest aperture to isolate the tomatoes even more, obviously the only thing I changed is the focus point, on the first picture I focused on the bottom (first tomato), on the second image the focus point set in the middle of the frame, on the third one I chose the top focus point.

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

30 mm, f /1.4, 1/80, ISO 100

The smaller the number the larger the aperture, large aperture means shallow depth of field resulting blurry background.

I prefer the first and the second image simply because I like to look at these pictures, the third one becomes uncomfortable to my eyes because of the large blurry foreground.

The first image is all about the single tomato on the front, I reckon this type of focus would work well in product photography as it has a strong feel of the product, in this case, the tomato. The second one is softer, more effortless, it looks like they’ve been sitting on the kitchen worktop waiting to be made into a delicious Italian dish.

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