I was talking with a fellow D5100 owner over on my Facebook page and she was wondering how to get the blurred background effect with the subject in focus. I thought it would be beneficial to share our conversation with all of you... Jikaiah's Question:
I am shooting a fashion type blog shoot tonight and was hoping you could advise me on the best settings for something like this. I want the model in focus and the rest blurry . Also I have the Nikon SB-28DX. Moose's Answer:
The key to isolating subjects against blurry backgrounds is to use a lens that's capable of obtaining an aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8. The 18-55mm kit lens can only go down to f/3.5 when shooting towards the wide end of the lens (18mm) and f/5.6 when shooting towards the long end of the lens (55mm). Since the kit lens can't get down to the optimal aperture range, you'll have to "create" a shallow depth of field. You can do this by zooming in fully to 55mm and creating some space between you, your subject and the background.
As for settings, shoot in Aperture priority and select the lowest available f-number (using the smaller command dial). Set the ISO to Auto (inside the menu) and enable Single-point AF (press "i" and highlight the AF-Area mode tab on the right of the info panel on the LCD). The single-point AF will allow you to control the focus point, rather than let the D5100 decide. When shooting portraits, I always focus on the eyes.
In regards to the flash, mount it to your hot-shoe and point it towards the ceiling. This will give you the ability to bounce the flash, giving you more even coverage throughout the studio/room and more natural looking shots indoors. Jikaiah's Reply:
Could you recommend a good lens to buy for future fashion shoots? Moose's Reply:
Yep, take a look at the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
. This lens will allow you to obtain an aperture of f/1.8 for capturing buttery smooth backgrounds and super sharp subjects. :)