Tuesday 6 September 2011

Portrait Photography: Four Steps to Creating a Blurry Background

You can create a blurry background in your portrait photography with a very simple process.
When you are photographing people, a soft focus background can help rid your photo of any potential distractions. This effect is called a shallow depth of field.

With a shallow depth of field, just the face or person would be in focus, and the background would be progressively blurry. In a longer depth of field, your subject and everything in the background is sharply in focus.

Here are the four ingredients to consider when creating a dramatically shallow depth of field:

Photo by peasap
Wide aperture. One of the first lessons in manipulating exposure is that the size of your shutter controls your depth of field. The larger the shutter opening for each shot, the smaller the amount of your photo will be in focus. Choose lower numbers, like f4 - f2, to get the most dramatic effect. Remember that aperture f-stop numbers work in reverse; the lower numbers represent the larger openings.

Distance to your subject. Getting close to your subject is a great composition principle anyway, but it is even more important when you want to knock out your background. If you are 10 feet from your subject, it is much easier to create a shallow depth of field than if you are 50 feet from your subject.

The amount of zoom: When you zoom in, you compress the elements of your photo, so everything behind your subject becomes more dramatic. A wide angle lens might not create a shallow depth of field, but if you zoom in a telephoto lens to 100 mm to 200 mm, the results become far more dramatic.

Size of your sensor: Your sensor size will impact the final quality of your image in many ways. Making your background blurry is just one of them.

Don't try to get a shallow depth of field with a camera phone. The sensor is so tiny, you won't see much effect. With a compact camera (point and shoot), it is possible to manipulate depth of field, but difficult. With a DSLR, you can start to see really dramatic effects because the sensor is much larger. Use a full frame digital sensor camera, and the results will be incredible.

Blurring out your background is one of many composition techniques you can use to create great portrait photography. With four easy ingredients, you could be on your way to making outstanding pictures.
About the author
Lynford Morton is founder and lead instructor of PhotoTour DC, where he teaches photography principles on walking workshops around Washington, DC. He shares and insights and resources at http://www.PhotoCoachPro.com. Register for photography workshops in Washington, DC at http://www.phototourdc.com.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR Camera

photo by Steve-h

Canon 5d Mark II Review
canon 5d mark ii

In conjunction with Canon boast 'defined a new DSLR category' back in 2005, Canon released their EOS 5D model. The Canon EOS 5D model was the first 'full frame' sensor camera with a compact body; namely not having an integral vertical grip and have been very popular among camera enthusiasts mainly because it is less bulky then Canon EOS-1D, if you are looking for a full frame DSLR to use with your Canon lenses. With Sony DSLR-A900 and Nikon D700 in the market, it is timely for Canon to upgrade their EOS 5D model to Mark II.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, is superior in terms of both resolution and features such as 21 mega-pixels, 1080p video, 3.0 VGA LCD, Live View, higher capacity battery and many others. In other words, this camera has surpassed both its direct competitors in terms of resolution (Nikon D700) or features (Sony DSLR-A900).
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is equipped with Live View and anti-dust features as well. Other improvement from its predecessor are the DIGIC 4 processor; with 14-bit analogue to digital conversion. This DIGIC 4 has allowed Canon to slightly improve on the original Canon EOS 5D's 3fps continuous shooting rate to a new rate of 3.9fps.

Photo by ChrisK4u

Aside from capturing high quality still pictures it is also the first Canon's DSLR to boast video recording. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is able to record video in full High Definition (HD) of 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) at 30fps. This is also the first DSLR to record video in glorious full HD and definitely best quality video recording by a still camera. Other improvement comprise of LCD screen size of 3 inch with 920k dot / VGA resolution. Owners of HDTV will be pleased that there is HDMI port for direct connection to HDTV at 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.
As for more traditional photographic features, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II offers an improved viewfinder with 98% coverage, a shutter rated to 150k cycles and 9-point AF system with 6 AF assist points. This definitely the must have for all camera enthusiasts.

Following are Canon EOS 5D Mark II full features:

21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1D Mark III)

Sensor dust reduction by vibration of filter

ISO 100 - 6400 calibrated range, ISO 50 - 25600 expansion (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)

Auto ISO (100 - 3200) in all modes except manual

3.9 frames per second continuous shooting

DIGIC 4 processor, new menus / interface as per the EOS 50D

Image processing features are:
1. Highlight tone priority
2. Auto lighting optimizer (4 levels)
3. High ISO noise reduction (4 levels)
4. Lens peripheral illumination correction (vignetting correction)

RAW and SRAW1 (10 MP) / SRAW2 (5 MP)

RAW / JPEG selection made separately

Permanent display of ISO on both top plate and viewfinder displays

AF micro adjustment (up to 20 lenses individually)

Three custom modes on command dial, Creative Auto Mode

Image copyright metadata support

98% coverage viewfinder (0.71x magnification)

3.0 920,000 dot LCD monitor with 'Clear View' cover / coatings, 170° viewing angle

Automatic LCD brightness adjustment (ambient light sensor)

Live View with three mode auto-focus (inclusive of face detection)

No mirror-flip for exposures in Live View if contrast detect AF is selected

Movie recording in Live View (i.e. 1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)

Two mode silent shooting (Live View)

New jump options in play mode

HDMI and standard composite (AV) video out

Full audio support: with built-in mic and speaker, mic-in socket, audio-out over AV (although not HDMI)

IrPort (supports IR remote shutter release using optional RC1 / RC5 controllers)

UDMA Compact Flash support

New 1800 mAh battery with improved battery information / logging

New optional WFT-E4 Wi-Fi / LAN / USB vertical grip

Water resistance: 10 mm rain under 3 minutes

Photo by Ian Sane

By Stephen Woon