Learn how to shoot scenery with a shallow depth of field.
The lens aperture is one of the three settings (along with shutter speed and ISO) that control exposure, as it determines how much light falls on the sensor. However, it also has an effect on the creative look of the image because it controls the depth of field too — the zone of sharpness either side of the point of focus.
The principle is quite simple: the smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field.
While that bit is straightforward, a little confusion is caused by the way apertures are measured in ‘f-stops’. As these numbers get bigger, the aperture gets smaller. For example, f4 is a large aperture and f22 is a small aperture.
Normally, portraits are shot with wide apertures and a narrow depth of field, while landscapes are most often shot with small apertures and an extensive depth of field. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and in the right circumstances, using a narrow depth of field can really add impact to a landscape.
Follow our guide to discover how to shoot scenery with a shallow depth of field, for a shot that really stands out from the crowd. Then learn how to transform it into a lovely canvas that you can display at home.
SHOOT! We show you how to shoot an eye-catching landscape.
Choose a location.
You’ll need an interesting foreground, ideally one where there is a single strong focal point. Even though it will be out of focus, the background is also important. Look for something that provides enough interest, but doesn’t have any distracting features.
Compose your shot.
Use a tripod — this allows you to make small adjustments to framing and will result in a better composition. Arrange the key elements in the shot according to the rule of thirds. If your camera has gridlines, turn these on to help you compose correctly.
Set to Aperture Priority.
Shooting in Aperture Priority mode (A or Av on the mode dial) is the best choice for landscapes, as you select the aperture, which controls the depth of field. The camera will set the shutter speed for you. Choose the widest aperture (smallest f-number) available.Focus on the foreground
Focus on the part of the foreground you want to be sharp. If you have Live View, zoom in, and with the camera in Manual Focus mode, turn the focusing ring until the image is sharp. Otherwise, use Autofocus and select the AF point on the part you want in focus.
Review the image.
Take the shot and use Image Review to check the focus and exposure. The histogram will show if your exposure is correct or not. If the histogram is bunched too far to the left, the shot is underexposed and if it’s too far to the right, the shot is overexposed.
Adjust the exposure.
If it is under or overexposed, apply Exposure Compensation and re-shoot. This usually involves holding down the +/-button and turning the dial. Add positive compensation to brighten and negative to darken, then check your histogram again.Remove the colour cast
If your photo has an unusual colour cast, or if you think it could be a little warmer or cooler, go to Filter>Adjustments>Photo Filter. Select a Warming or Cooling Filter depending on your preference, and then adjust the Density slider until you are happy.
Correct the exposure.
You can brighten up or darken your shot by going to Enhance>Adjust Lighting> Levels. Use the Color Picker tool to correct automatically, or adjust the arrows under the histogram. Moving them right will darken it, and moving them to the left will brighten it.
Add a gradient.
In the Layers palette on the right-hand side of the screen, click the ‘Add New Fill Layer’ button at the top. Select Gradient from the drop-down menu and in the Gradient Fill box that appears, set the Style to Linear, the Angle to -90 degrees, and the Scale to 100%.
Boost the colours.
To make the colours in your shot a bit brighter, go to Enhance>Adjust Color> Adjust Hue/Saturation. Boost the Saturation slider until the colours look how you want them to, but avoid pushing it too far as your photo will look unnatural and cartoon-like.
Adjust the curves.
Now go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Color Curves and choose Increase Midtones from the Select a Style menu. Boost the Midtone Brightness and Midtone Contrast, then adjust Highlights and Shadows until your image has plenty of depth in the foreground.
Adjust the gradient.
Double-click on the Gradient menu in the Gradient Fill box to open up the Gradient Editor. Adjust the colour of your gradient and the Color and Opacity sliders to change its look. You can also change the Opacity and Location percentages. Click OK.
SHARE! Create a canuas print to display at home with Photo Box.
Choose your print service.
You can share your shallow depth of field landscape photo in a number of ways, such as online or by framing it to go on your wall. We have chosen to turn our shot into a canvas print, and we will show you how to do the same using www.PhotoBox.co.uk.
Select a canvas style.
Click on the Canvas tab at the top of the PhotoBox home page to see the variety of canvas prints on offer. Each has a different thickness of frame and is printed on a different material. Select the one that suits your budget and click Create Canvas.
Change the shape and size.
Now choose a rectangular, square or panoramic canvas and pick the size you want it to be. Consider the shape of your photo, the space available on your wall and how much money you wish to spend to help you choose. Then click Create Canvas Now.Upload your photo
Upload your landscape photo and you will see it displayed on a virtual canvas print. You can change the orientation of your canvas and select whether you would like the image to wrap around the edges of the canvas, or display the entire photo with a white border.
Edit your print.
If you click on your photo, another menu will appear. Zoom in or out and rotate your photo to reposition it, or open up the Photo Editing menu. This lets you adjust the contrast and brightness, flip the photo or add effects. You can then order your canvas.