Shallow Depth of Field Portrait – Photograph Two


Camera: Canon 500D
Focal Length: 75-300mm (300mm)
ISO: 3200
Shutter Speed: 1000/1
Aperture: f/7.1

This portrait I had taken at Chester Zoo was taken on Shutter Priority. I wanted to explore the other features of my camera in order to gain more experience, knowledge and confidence when using my DSLR. I really like a lot about this photograph, I really enjoy photographing animals, in fact it is becoming somewhat of a passion thanks to Sebastio Salgado and his Genesis project. I love to photograph animals because of their innocence, and their lack of a voice, I really feel like this photograph captures this. His eyes for me, provoke an extreme amount of emotion and the way the light illuminates the shape of his body definitely adds to this.

 When I positioned the frame for this photograph, I had to be extremely quick due to meerkats moving around pretty much all the time. This is why I chose to use shutter priority. I wanted to capture the animals looking vulnerable as part of an ongoing project of mine and to do so, I felt that the shutter speed was the most important. I selected a fast shutter speed which in this case was 1000/1. I know now that this is rather an unnecessary speed, but at the time I was still learning how to use my camera. Due to my choosing of shutter priority, the camera selected the aperture for me. In this case, f/7.1. This being due to my focal length of 300mm. The aperture was about half open, allowing a beautiful shallow depth of field. The ISO was pumped right up to counteract the shutterspeed, giving me just enough light to correctly expose the photograph. Although, due to the high ISO, there is quite a lot of noise, but I feel as though it works well in this instance.

After a peer assessment, I was told that my photograph was a photograph of a Meerkat and not about a Meerkat, I would have to disagree, due to my own emotional response, but I am happy to take any criticism. So I reshot my Shallow Depth of Field Portrait.


Camera: Canon 500D
Focal Length: 50mm
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/200
Aperture: f/1.8

Although I really like my Meerkat photo, I believe that this photo meets the brief much better. As you can see from my settings, my understanding of how to use a camera has drastically changed. I used a 50mm f/1.8 to achieve my shallow depth of field, I framed the shot quite beautifully, the light was achieved using a flashgun which compensated my fast shutter and my low ISO. I chose black and white for this photo because as I have grown as a photographer, I believe that black and white portraits bring out the soul, especially in the subjects eyes.

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