The Magic Of DOF Through A Macro Lens

Blue Bells - Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto-Macro (Komine)

OK, so what’s the “magic”? Well, I wanted to shoot these little flowers in their natural environment but their situation in our garden and the surrounding area just doesn’t lend itself to get the kind of DOF I was after, nor the colour. I was looking for that rich green you get from surrounding grass and I wanted the flowers to really pop out of the background but it had to look and feel natural and I didn’t want to have to manipulate the DOF in PS as it can often look a tad unreal or overcooked.

Blue Bells - Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto-Macro (Komine)

I mused a while and then went on the hunt. In my wife’s wardrobe I found a light green silk dress that she sometimes wears to balls and charity events. Whilst she was outside I sneaked it into my light box and set it as a background. I hung it so there were a few creases visible, hoping to create a some subtle changes in the background so it didn’t look contrived. I then clamped the flowers about 2 1/2 feet in front of the dress and used the Vivitar Komine f/2.8 55mm macro lens to focus in fairly close. When I opened them up in PS I was surprised as how nicely the “trick” had worked. The dress had created exactly the effect I was looking for and my work in PS was minimal with zero work required on the background at all.

Blue Bells - Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto-Macro (Komine)

I’m going to use this more now I know it works and experiment with other “natural” colour backgrounds when capturing the image outside is simply not impossible.