One way to get shallow depth of field is to use macro mode. Macro mode is the left scroll wheel button with the flower symbol. You can use macro mode in many modes in our camera except for some scene modes and auto mode. The idea behind macro mode is to take pictures of a subject very close up like a flower or a small object. By using this mode, the subject will be in focus and if the background is at a slight distance away from the subject then the background will be blurry, creating a shallow depth of field. The farther away the background is from the subject creates the blurry background (a sense of shallow depth of field).
Another way to get shallow depth of field is to use Av Mode. Set the SX130 to the lowest F-stop number which is 3.4. Some cameras may have F2.8 and the cool Canon S95 has an F2.0. Then take a picture of the subject being as close to you as possible without zooming since zooming will change the F-stop to a higher number. With the lowest f-stop and having the subject as close as possible and the background as far as possible creates the shallow depth of field. This type doesn't give you a shallow depth of field that is as good as the macro mode but thats just the limitation of our camera and all point and shoots. EDIT: After doing some research this method doesn't work well. The focal length is only at 5mm without zooming which makes it a super wide lens and a wide open aperture wouldn't do any good in creating shallow depth of field at this focal length. The best way to get shallow depth of field is either the macro way or the final way discussed in the next paragraph.
The final way to get shallow depth of field is to zoom in as close to your subject without using digital zoom. With our camera we can zoom in 12x optically on a subject. I use Av mode again for this technique and the F-stop will inevitably increase when you zoom but that is okay for this technique. After zooming in all the way with our subject in focus, take a picture while having the background as far as possible as well. For instance, if you are taking pictures of people against a wall, there will be no shallow depth of field. So if you like taking portraits, make sure you are zoomed in as much as you can and have the background be at least 6 feet away from the subject, though ideally have the background be as far away as possible. I use this technique most when I try to get shallow depth of field with a person being the subject.
|good example of shallow depth of field|
|Again I zoomed in all the way on the subject. Background had a slight blur since it 's so far away.|
I didn't really get into the science behind getting shallow depth of field but just how to produce it with a point and shoot, specifically for the Canon SX130. There are many other sites that explain in detail (much better than I can mind you) how aperture, distance, focal length, etc. effect shallow depth of field. I hope you guys find this info helpful. Learning about different techniques and what each mode does on a camera and when to use those modes will increase your ability to make great point and shoot photos. Good blog on composition in photography! check it out by clicking this line!! Also keep practicing(I know I will!) and Good luck!