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Playing with Depth of Field and Creating Bokeh


Experienced photographers know that playing with depth of field and bokeh can elevate any shot from average to extraordinary. Mastering both can help you take your photography skills to the next level, and if you aspire to be a great photographer or videographer, then knowing how to best use every tool at your disposal in a lens like the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD (Model A058) is one of the best ways to get there.
Before getting into how to utilize depth of field and bokeh to help you capture beautifully striking images, we should cover what each concept is. Depth of field, or DOF, refers to the area of the image that is in focus. A shallow depth of field means that the amount of the image that is in focus is relatively small, or shallow. Alternatively, a deep depth of field will have much more of the image in focus.


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Bokeh refers to the aesthetically pleasing out of focus areas in the foreground and background of an image. The more intense the bokeh, the harder the objects in the background are to discern, and the smoother the background becomes. Shooting at a wide open aperture and at closer distances and/or at the telephoto end of the lens will increase the bokeh effect.


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Different photography genres will use different depths of field and have different bokeh. For example, portrait photography and wildlife photography are two genres that gravitate towards shallow depths of field so their subjects can stand out better. Shots of landscapes often opt for a deeper depth of field to help capture the scale of the landscape.


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If you want to draw attention to a subject such as a baby swaddled in blankets, a dog sticking their head out of a pile of leaves, or newlyweds in a field of grass, using a shallow depth of field with smooth or creamy bokeh can help your subjects stand out and almost pop out of the image.

You experiment with focal length and bokeh to your heart’s content because this lens has a remarkable maximum aperture and a very versatile focal length range from wide to tele. With the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD (Model A058), the maximum of f/2 at 35mm offers amazing bokeh opportunities not available in any other zoom lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras.


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The 35-150mm f/2-2.8 even includes Tamron’s new Tamron Lens Utility™ so that you can customize the lens for your personal shooting style.

While depths of field and bokeh are more-commonly used in some genres more than others, there really are no rules to photography. It’s a creative medium, so use both to your liking! Photography is all about sharing your vision with the world, and you shouldn’t compromise that vision in the slightest. Now that you know how to play with depth of field and bokeh, you should be able to share that vision with the world better than before.

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