One of the best digital photography tips involves something know as depth of field, or bokeh. This is where part of the photograph is in sharp focus while the rest of the image is out of focus, or blurry. This technique adds lots of interest to a photograph by separating the main subject from the photograph and drawing the viewer’s attention right to the area of the main subject. The blurred background does not compete for the viewer’s attention.
You can do a couple of things to create an image with satisfying depth of field. One way to accomplish good depth of field is to separate the main subject far enough from the background so that the background is not in focus. For instance, if you are photographing a person, just have them move toward you and away from the distracting background.
Another technique is to use a telephoto lens with a wide open aperture. This sounds a little techy, but it is not really very complicated. Here’s how it works. Use your telephoto lens set to a higher number, such as 100mm or 200mm, and set your aperture to a lower number, such as f2.8 or f4.0. The lower the number, the less depth there is in the focus. In some cases, there is only a depth of focus of an inch or two. As the f-stop rises, so does the focus depth. So, if you take a photo with your aperture set to, say f9.0, you will get much more detail in the background because there is a “deeper” focus range.
If you own a point and shoot camera, you may have a creative setting that will help you to limit the depth of field to create this interesting separation of the subject from the background.
Getting better pictures takes practice. Cameras are getting more intuitive all the time, but if you don’t know what you want before you press the shutter, that is exactly what you will get… a surprise. Sometimes it is a good surprise, but if you decide to take control of the setup, you will get consistently better output.