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P9 Photography Course: Large aperture -- Now phones can shoot shallow focus shots.


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Shallow focus is a common technique used in professional photography. Whether you’re using large-aperture or long focus lenses to shoot images, you can make use of a de-emphasized background to draw attention to the subject of your snapshot. First, let's take a look at what kinds of backgrounds we can capture with a long lens:

 

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The photographer has focused on the distant background, choosing to make the foreground and left and right sides blurry. This lends an air of warm serenity to the overall mood of the photograph.

 

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Of course, the point of focus is on the biggest drop of water. Using a blurry background, the photographer has captured the glittering radiance of morning dew collecting beautifully on the moss.

 

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In this snapshot it's even more apparent that the focus is on the central plant.

With phone photography, a small, wide-angled focus means that you can use focal distance and aperture to expertly capture a clean image with a clear foreground theme and a blurred background. With a dual-lens, large-aperture Leica camera embedded in the P9, you can take some amazing shots. Take a look:
 

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Hard to believe those were taken with a phone, eh? In fact, with a large aperture lens, you can add a brilliant air of drama to any portrait, still-life or landscape. Now, even newcomers to photography can very easily capture stirring images.

From a technical standpoint, the large aperture function (or the shallow focus effect) is best suited for still life shots. Next we’ll look at techniques for using your P9's large aperture to produce aesthetically refined photographs.

First, go to Camera. In the default photography interface, tap the Large Aperture icon, and the camera will enter large-aperture mode.

 

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In Large Aperture mode, we can find our focal point and focus on it with the viewfinder, then adjust the aperture value to modify the degree of background blurring to achieve a shallow focus effect. And here’s the result.

 

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In the viewfinder, tap the handle bars of the bicycle you see, and a circular focus overlay will appear. At the same time, other positions in the viewfinder will become blurry. Swipe up, down on the focus value panel on the right to manual adjust the degree of blur outside the focus overlay.

Below, tap the Shoot icon to see the resulting photograph

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Now the bicycle and its basket of flowers are clearly focused, emphatically contrasted by the blurry background that now frames them.

 

Using the same technique, we now draw our attention to the tea brewer in the distance. Take a look:

 

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Now compare it to a comparable photograph that does not make use of the large aperture:

 

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A dramatic difference!

 

Large aperture has another focal adjustment method as well. You can change the focal point in snapshots taken in Large Aperture mode to achieve different effects. You can create effectively different photographs from the same original image. The possibilities are endless!

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