I do a lot of tabletop type photography for blog projects, which means that I’m often photographing something small, and want the eyes to be drawn to one particular detail or another. I have a canon 30D with a 50 mm 1.4 lens which allows me to create a really shallow depth of field as you can see in the left image above at taken a f/1.4. The right image above is the same picture but I took it with a deeper depth of field at f/16. You can see how the background in the right image is pretty distracting. It’s hard to know what we should be be focusing on.
The problem is that a lens that allows for a really shallow depth of field (which is the aperture or f stop) is pretty expensive. Mine was $380 on top of the cost of the camera body. Not everyone who is casually taking photos can afford to invest in a nice lens like that. There’s a cheaper version, a
Switch into the Guided Tab at the top right and select Depth of Field in the list that opens. This is one of the huge benefits I found of Elements, it makes all those adjustments that you can do in Photoshop way easier by walking you through the process. You’ll see as we continue.
Click on the quick selection button on the right, and then start clicking on the parts of the image you want to keep in focus. The marching ants will start to outline that area. You’ll want to zoom in for this part so you can be pretty exact with your selection.
If you find that you’re grabbing too much or not enough, you can adjust the diameter of your brush by clicking the down arrow next to Brush on the top left corner of the page. You can do option-click or alt-click to delete a small section if you grab a section you didn’t mean to.
Move the slider around to find the right amount of blur. Above is what it looks like turned all the way up. Too much! When you find the right amount, click ‘done’. You can move into ‘quick’ to make other small adjustments to light and color.