Get 6 Months of ShootQ Free With Any Workshop Purchase!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds

Shallow Depth Of Field Portraits | How To Enhance Shallow DOF Effect In-Camera

By Holly Roa on March 29th 2017

Who doesn’t love a shallow depth of field portrait? They offer up a dreaminess that looks beautiful and is a departure from what we normally see, and they’re easy enough to accomplish in theory: mount a fast lens, open it wide and shoot away. But there are things you can do to get more out of that shallow depth of field, to enhance the effect. Adorama TV has a lesson to help you accomplish this in-studio with Gavin Hoey.

You’ll need a fast lens of course, and you’ll need to be able to power your flash down low enough to open up all the way without overexposing or use high-speed sync. The latter is also useful if you’re going to be combining your shallow DOF with freezing action. That’s the route Gavin’s taken – he’s using HSS on an Olympus FL900R with an OM-D E-M1 Mark II and 25mm f/1.2, which has the reach of a 50mm on a full frame camera. He’s put the FL900R in a Glow ParaPop modifier.


Your background makes a difference in the feeling of depth. Gavin begins with a solid black background and contrasts that with a patterned gray one. The gray background lets you see something defocused behind the model which gives your eye more i