How to make your subjects stand out from the background

Nov 17, 2011

Topic: Photography Tutorials
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product:  All-in-One Contract Bundles


How do you make your subjects stand out so much?  - This is a question that I get A LOT in emails (which I DO enjoy by the way!!).  One of my struggles starting out was figuring out how to achieve this "pop" that I saw in other photographer's work.   Pssssttt...the secret? Depth of field!!!!  Some of you oldies are rolling your eyes, but for newer photographers this makes a world of difference!

Separating your subject from your background through use of depth of field (aperture or f/stop) & distance between camera and subject will help to make your subjects stand out.  

Here are some examples!

Achieving depth of field really is pretty simple :) Remember - the lower the f/stop number, the more blur you're going to have in your photograph!  Go out and practice with different f/stop numbers on the same subject.  I promise, you'll see a difference!


In the photograph above, I had a larger f/stop to capture more of the photograph, the subjects seem to blend in more to the background.


Above Left: Using low f/stop (around 2.2) I was able to help the subjects be separate from the background.
Above Right: Don't forget to use your surroundings! By shooting past the branch it created some depth.

In the above photo, note the car to the left; the low f/stop helped to blur it out and put the focus on the subject.

Great distance between subject above and the backdrop made her seem significant in a huge field.  Without the f/stop she would've looked tiny.

It's not a science, but it does take practice.  Just remember these tips to achieving the depth of field to make your subjects pop!

  • Low f/stop
  • Greater distance between subject and backdrop
  • Shoot through something.
  • Be creative!




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