Depth of Field

Melissa Jill is one of the better photographers who regularly post comments on their online blog.

A 30-something internationally known wedding and portrait photographer Melissa is also a pretty good marketer for her products and from what I can gather an excellent photography teacher as well. In other words she’s all the things I could have been if I’d been born a girl and handed a 2 1/4 Hasselblad when I was a child. Just kidding…I think 🙂

Anyway Ms Jill has an excellent blog posting on how to creatively use depth of field. For the most part it comes down to buy really expensive “fast” (everybody who has taken a class with me remembers fast means expensive and slow doesn’t mean bad, just affordable) glass and shoot wide open. And when somebody is paying you $4k and up to shoot their wedding you’d better come with lots of fast glass and the knowhow to use it.

One thing I’d like to add is for all of you shooting with kit lenses (that’s the lens that came with your camera) that are likely slow zooms with not much range in the zoom and can’t create shallow depth of field, why not buy a 50mm f/1.8 lens? In the Nikon, Canon lines this lens costs $150. You can buy a faster Sigma 50mm f/1.4 for around $500.

These lenses used creatively can create exactly the same fabulous images the pros shoot. If you are doing a lot of weddings you’re going to have to buy a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom for over $2k but that’s the cost of doing business. For the rest of us, the 50mm f/1.8 is fine although you’re going to have to walk back and forth instead of zooming but you’ve saved $1850. Not bad.

Another way you can create the same effect (sort of) is in Photoshop or using special software such as Alien Skins Bokeh.  It’s not cheap but it does a lovely job and you can use it on images shot with any lens or camera.

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