Next week, we will be launching our very own linky called Image of the Week. Each week we will be inviting you to come an link up and share your best image of that week. To help you along the way, one of our professional photographers will be giving you a handy tip to help you create a beautiful image. It can be taken with any camera or even your iphone. If you can, include the f stops, isos and shutter speed. To give you a taster, this week, Penny is giving a know how on focus. Enjoy, and we hope to see you at the linky next week!

Our word of the week is FOCUS!

Have you ever wondered how professional photographers have such sharp looking pictures and the background all blurry and out of focus?

Some of the effect is created with expensive kit, lenses and cameras that will allow this to be done, but it is something that anyone can do on a basic DSLR camera or a good point and shoot camera.

In technical terms this effect is called bokeh and is all about having a shallow depth of field which is achieved by having a wide aperture on your lens (ie the lens is as receptive to light as possible) and being close to your subject. This can work against you as sometimes if you take a person’s portrait too close with a very wide aperture you can have the tip of their nose in focus and their eyes are blurry, but unless you are using professional lenses it is unlikely this will happen. Lets not be technical!

So, how should we go about getting a picture like this?



To start with make sure there is a some distance between the subject and the background. If your subject is leaning against a wall this won’t work so well.

If you have a DSLR camera (one with interchangeable lenses and no delay on the shutter when you take pictures) this is easy:

Switch your camera away from “Auto” onto the setting “A” or “AV”. Your camera will show a number that you can now change manually. It’s a low number, under 22, and the camera will set the shutter speed, usually a higher number, for you. Dial the A (aperture) number down as low as you can get it and then get as close as you can to focus on your subject. This picture of my cat was taken at an aperture of 4.5 and I was about 3m from him zoomed right in.

If this seems a little complicated then just use the macro setting (it looks like a little flower) and again, get in close.


If you have a point and shoot just choose the macro setting (the flower) and get close! The key is the getting close to your subject and make sure the background is as far away as possible.

Here are some more examples:

2015-01-14_0004Here the foreground and the background are blurred out, making a frame and a smooth background in the same shot while keeping the subject crisp and clear.


Here the robin is a long way from the hedge behind and the hedge and sky have blended into one to let the bird stand out.

Good luck and let us see what you capture using this technique!

Penny xxx


The Reading Residence

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