30 Alluring Images with Shallow DOF


This week we’re going back to the basics and looking at some images that utilize a large aperture to create a narrow or shallow DOF (Depth of Field).

Often called bokeh, large apertures can create that magical look of out of focus blobs (highly technical term).

Here are a few images demonstrating these things to inspire you.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Darlene Hildebrandt is the Managing Editor of dPS. She is also an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles, online photography classes, and travel tours. Get her free ebook 10 Photography Challenges to help you take better pictures or join a photo tour to some exotic places.

  • Brian

    I really like the idea of viewing other people’s work as a source or ideas and inspiration, but not having the exposure details for a photograph makes it less useful (sometimes a lot less useful) in learning how to create different images. Why oh why don’t these services (like 500px) share the EXIF data with us?

  • Slava

    In almost every of these pictures there is EXIF data. You can install browser plugin that shows it (for example, “FxIF Data” for Firefox)

  • P Cosme

    Wow, Slava. Thank’s for your tip.

  • Michael O

    I agree.

  • Michael O

    Some fantastic examples here. Makes me wanna slip on my pancake, lower that fstop and shoot some DOF imagery.

  • Jeff Turner

    You can also see the EXIF data for these photo by clicking through to the source on 500px.

  • Brian

    That’s interesting, on the 2 photos I clicked on, I couldn’t see any EXIF data on the 500px site. But I’m going to go get the Firefox plugin as Slava suggested.

  • Brian

    Thanks Slava, that’s a great tip. But I wish these articles would actually post the key EXIF data right in the article since understanding how the photo was exposed can be key to understanding how to get the result the article is talking about.

  • The Exif data is a funny thing sometimes. It depends if the artist shares it or not. If they don’t share it, it could also be the fact that they created an HDR, manual lens that doesnt pass the info, or a few other things. If you see something you like, you can always message the artist and I have found most of the time they are generous to share the info or a few other odd facts how they processed the image; plus it helps you get into the networking infrastructure too.

  • Ricardo Correia

    Very good!!! Check more here : http://www.pistachophotography.com

  • Felicia

    To be honest, I’m not so much curious about the EXIF data, but about the post-processing that’s been done… Wish I knew more about that, so that I could learn to – maybe – recognize it by myself!

  • I agree !! Post process has been the biggest part of the journey for me. I have spent countless hours watching videos on youtube by some of the great photographers out there. Darlene (DPS managing director) has a few videos worth watching too that have taught me quite a bit too. I have had a few decent artist share a few tricks too which has helped me immensely. The best advice I can say is figure out the type of photography you like the most, then try to learn who are the some of the industry tops in that style and see if they have a youtube channel. I have watched so many processing tutorials my head has exploded from being overwhelmed quite a few times. All worth it though 🙂

  • Doug

    I’ve added this photo of my grand-daughter because I like the depth given to the photo by the shallow D.O.F .
    nikonD5000 with 35mm 1.8G lens taken at f1.8 her finger was about 6 inches from the lens, the crop and border were done using GIMP

  • Steve

    I feel half of these photos are made in photo shop. And that is disappointing.

  • cdloff

    Awesome! I love your ideas.

  • Kaotik Jezta

    Totally agree, what I was thinking. Ridiculous amount of post production.

  • Phil Wormald

    I love shallow depth of field in photographs and some of these images are quite stunning, My favourites being the Bride and Ballet Dancer. Time to get shooting again, may treat myself to a 50mm 1.4 Prime Lens. Here’s one of mine, shot at f6.3, at f1.4 I think it would look even better….

  • Daniel

    A lot of good ideas! this is my aportation:


  • Jack Gill

    Too many flowers.

  • Paul Lehman

    This a nice collection of photos but as a new photographer it is a poor article for learning shooting methods. It would be beneficial to have some discussion on methods to get shots like those shown or include some camera settings for each picture to illustrate settings.

    I really like DPS and have learned a lot through their vast collection of posts. It concerns me that this is the second recent post that forgets the “S” part of their name – school.

    Please continue to teach and not become another site that reposts beautiful pictures.

  • Paul Lehman

    Thank you! I posted before reading other comments and you already stated my viewpoint.

  • Paul Lehman

    Great information but it still does not serve the reader well. I often times view this on a mobile device and presume a plugin is not an option.
    I firmly believe DPS is a great resource in itself without having to redirect to other sites and/or plugins to explain their articles.

  • Joel Tejeda
  • Dominic Bolaa
  • Heidi Eberle

    This is one I took of my newborn daughter last week.

  • Shibu George

    My two cents……

  • luvntravln

    There is no ridiculous amount of post production. Post production is simply part of the artist’s journey.

  • RayL

    Taken at a farmer’s market. My wife gets a kick out of people watching me and whispering as I take pictures of fruit, veggies and general wares. This was one of several my wife and I put into a collage and had mounted and framed.

  • Cristian Calderon

    I get your point but I guess the idea is just to get inspiration from what you can see on posts like this, an apprentice painter doesn’t go to a museum and complains because a Caravaggio’s technical sheet doesn’t show which brushes he used… I guess.

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