Camera Tips – Separating your subject from the background

Sometimes you want everything you photograph to be in clear and sharply focused but there are times when you want to just focus on one thing and make that stand out from everything else

This is where the “A” or “AV” position (Aperture Priority) on your digital camera comes into its own. When you go to this setting your camera will let you control the depth of field and the camera will control the shutter speed.

In good light this isn’t a problem but indoors or in low light your camera will sacrifice speed to give you a nicely exposed photograph which may end up blurred as it needed a long time to expose the image

But let’s assume we are outdoors in good light, now that we have switched the camera to Aperture Priority you will see a range of numbers from something like 4 to 22 or 3.5 to 22 that sort of thing.

Generally, the smaller the number the more blurred you will make the background look and the bigger the number the more of the background will be in focus. There are a host of other variables like how close you are to your subject but let’s not confuse things!

So, to get photos like the ones shown you need to set a low number and stand relatively close to your subject. The photos shown were taken at Kew Gardens on new year’s day from about a couple of feet away.

You will see that each flower is nice and sharp but the background is beautifully soft which really makes the subject stand out

We cover all this in a lot more detail on our camera training courses but if you have any questions please ask

Nick Sievewright
footprint photography
07964 10 9 8 7 6