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Old 08-29-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
lisakramer
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Wanting a specific look, how do I get it?

Hi all - I'm a point and shoot user, but I want to be able to get the look of the crisp foreground, out of focus background and I have no idea how to do it.
I have a Canon Powershot SX230HS.

I would be deeply grateful if someone could point me in the right direction.

Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:47 PM   #2
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You can try placing the person or object far away from the background. However in general it can be hard to do with a point and shoot. A DSLR with a 85mm f1.8 lens would make it simple...
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:50 PM   #3
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You want to manipulate the depth of field. This is the area that is acceptably sharp, just in front of and just behind the plane in space where focus actually is. Three things control depth of field... aperture, focal length and distance to subject. To get a shallow depth of field you want a wider aperture (that means a smaller f/stop number) you want a longer focal length and you want to be close to your subject. Now it's often not possible to get all three of those things, so we just go with aperture and whatever else we can. Since aperture is the biggie and the easiest factor to alter in most situations.

Other things will affect the perception of depth of field. Keep your subject separated as far as you can from the background. Depth of field will seem larger, meaning more will look sharper, with smaller sensors like your camera uses. It will also seem larger with smaller prints.

You will have a tough time getting shallow depth of field shots with the camera you have. There's a lot of factors working against you. But it's not impossible so read up on how to control the aperture with your camera and play around.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Repeating what's already been said, but here it is in list form to make it easy.

Four things to do:

(1) Keep your subject close(-ish) to you (the camera)

(2) Keep the background far away from your subject

(3) Use a wide aperture (low f/ number -- if you don't know how to control this on your camera, read the camera's manual)

(4) Use a long focal length ("zoom in")
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:24 PM   #5
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Some point and shoot cameras have a "Portrait" Mode that do this, but, as others have said, it will be somewhat limited.
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