Intense Focus | Shooting Shallow from David Cleland

Last weekend I had a chance to read fellow X Photographer David Cleland's new eBook: Shooting Shallow.


This time around David tackles a subject that can easily prove mystifying to budding photographers: depth of field. More specifically how to minimize it, control it and use the results in creative ways. Just like his first book The Long Exposure, this is a brilliantly constructed and extensive analysis of the subject at hand, exploring everything from the physics and mechanics involved, to the plane of focus, lens choice, the impact of distance… It’s basically a walkthrough, a guide taking you through every single step of the process. Beyond the advertised goal of shooting shallow, I can’t imagine anyone coming out of it without a complete understanding of depth of field in general and how to use it to their advantage.

There are tips on composition, on controlling focus, camera techniques… All of these accompanied by diagrams, making every topic that much clearer. There’s even a chapter on the impact depth of field can have in storytelling. It’s pretty impressive how much information David manages to squeeze in without making the book overwhelming.

And the photography, of course, is beautiful.


The book includes the following chapters:

  • Explaining Bokeh
  • What is Depth of Field
  • The Variables (Distance / Aperture).
  • Know your equipment
  • Learn the Practice (The Theory and Application).
  • Tips for Success
  • Practical Examples
  • Going forward

It’s easy to forget how esoteric all of this is once you’ve assimilated the techniques and it’s become second nature. David has a talent not only for making fantastic images but also for communicating in a way that makes complex subjects seem effortless.

If you already know all there is to know on the subject, this will be more of a refresher and source of inspiration. But if you’re just starting out, this is a 38 page eBook that could change your entire focus… Pun intended ;)

Shooting Shallow is available here. 20% off until Dec 30 if you use the code "shooting". If you don't already own The Long Exposure there's also a special bundle available.

I shot the image below two minutes after putting it down — it seemed appropriate. For those keeping score: XF 60mm, 1/80 sec at f/3.2, ISO 1000.
Have a great weekend :)

Patrick La Roque1 Comment