STEP BY STEP / Fake your own bokeh back­grounds

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 The back­ground Load up the start file into your com­puter (or TV or tablet) and make it full-screen. En­sure you have suf­fi­cient space in front of the screen to place your ob­ject. If you don’t have the file to hand, or just want to ex­per­i­ment, try a web search for some­thing like ‘star pat­tern’. 2 Place the board We placed a black acrylic board on our lap­top key­board to re­flect the back­ground. It also pro­vides a sta­ble, flat sur­face on which to place your toy an­i­mal. En­sure you move the fig­ure a rea­son­able dis­tance away from the screen to in­crease the blur­ri­ness of the stars. 3 The lens is key The longer your fo­cal length, the more the back­ground will blur due to the per­spec­tive com­pres­sion that oc­curs in longer lenses, and the wider the aper­ture, the greater the ef­fect too. We used a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Pop your Nikon DSLR onto a tri­pod to keep it rock-steady. 4 Which mode? In Man­ual mode, use the widest aper­ture avail­able on your lens to pro­duce a shal­low depth of field. Use the low­est pos­si­ble ISO (100 is ideal); be­cause we’re us­ing a tri­pod, a longer shut­ter speed won’t re­sult in any blur from cam­era shake in the fi­nal shot. 5 Get in fo­cus In or­der to truly em­pha­size your ob­ject and throw the back­ground out of fo­cus, en­gage aut­o­fo­cus and move the fo­cus point over the clos­est cor­ner of your ob­ject. You might find it eas­ier to do this with a plain white screen, as the AF will then lock on to con­trasty edges. 6 Take it fur­ther Once you have your scene set up and set­tings di­alled in, try tak­ing a few shots, ad­just­ing the po­si­tion­ing of your fig­urine. If you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, why not try us­ing dif­fer­ent back­ground images to cre­ate jun­gle-like scenes, as we’ve done here?

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