Shallow depth of field
From Frank Siteman/ DPA instructor in Boston
To view more of his images please visit : http://digitalphotoacademy.com/portfolio/frank-siteman/
A boy and his dog….. Sure it’s a cliche, but for a good reason. When a photo shows emotion, it’s successful. One difference between a painter and a photographer is that a painter starts with an empty canvas and puts down on it what he or she wants to present. A photographer on the other hand, starts with a full canvas and must eliminate what is distracting or unwanted.
In this photo, a relatively long focal length (200mm) was used at a wide aperture (f/2.8) to ensure that there would be a very shallow depth of field. The focus was on the catch-light, or twinkle, in the dog’s eyes.
The sun was relatively low in the sky and I positioned the boy and his puppy so that they were illuminated from behind. That produced a rim light that separated the subject from the already out of focus background. It makes the image come alive.
I typically use a large reflector, made from a rigid foam insulation board (with an aluminum foil surface) and cover over 50 percent of it’s surface with gold spray paint. This reflector can work from great distances, but must be catching direct rays of sunlight in order to bounce them back. If there is an overcast sky, it will need to be much closer to the subject to work, but the gold warms what would be the reflection of a cool sky.
Again, a post processing affect was employed on a separate layer (with a mask) to selectively alter areas of the image and to create a painterly look.