Little tip

April 20, 2009


This is a picture I took at a church, following the baptism of a friend’s child. Every once in awhile I get family or friends asking me how I take photos that have the background blurred out behind a particular subject. The name for this result is called “Depth of Field”, also referred to as DOF. DOF is controlled by various settings on the camera, but simply, a larger aperature opening produces a shallow DOF, and a smaller aperture produces a larger DOF. Take a look at this diagram for a graphic explanation:


So what is aperture? Aperture is the size of the opening inside of the camera’s lens. The size of this opening is controlled by a diaphragm that can change size to allow more or less light to enter the camera:


The reason I am getting into this is because I was attempting to take a picture on Saturday where I experimented with DOF to take two different approaches to the same shot. Take a look:



I was trying to play with their refidgerator magnets and have them show up in the shot, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted the couple to be in focus or out of focus. Both shots were taken with the same 50mm lens.  The first shot was taken with an aperature of F2.8 (larger opening) while the second was taken with an aperature setting of F13 (smaller opening).

Unfortunately, most point-and-shoot digital cameras do not give you  much control over these settings, but most do include a portrait mode (shown by a person’s head as an icon) which forces the camera to use a larger aperature to get the same effect. Some of the better point and shoot cameras do give you this control, and of course, an SLR camera will give you complete control. I hope this all makes sense to you. Try doing a test with your own digital camera, even if it is a point and shoot. Just put it in landscape mode (usually shows a tree and mountains symbol) and take a shot of say, a tree that has some sort of background behind it. Set yourself about 15 feet away from the tree. Next take the same shot, from the same location with the camera set to portrait mode. You should see a difference in how the background is focused. Have fun!

for more information on the various camera settings available, take a look here:

Camera Settings


Gallery Change

April 3, 2009

For those who want to access a gallery of pictures I have taken over the pst few years, click here:

Artistic Gallery

It has some “filler” pictures that I plan on changing out once I have a few minutes. Enjoy!


April 1, 2009


I had a change to see Slumdog Millionaire the other day and I was very impressed. I thought it was a great movie, very well done. My wife and I did something a few weeks ago that I never do; watch the yearly film awards ceremony and I am always interested in looking up the movies that are nominated and or win. I was very happy to see that this film was not filled with all the junk that Hollywood thinks is so necessary unlike almost every other film that was nominated. The soundtrack was great, the actors and actresses were genuine, and the story was riveting.  My only warning is that there are a couple innappropriate word uses during the film, but other than that there was nothing uncomfortable to watch.  If you had a chance to see it, tell me what you thought…

New Website

March 30, 2009

As promised, the new website is up and running for my photography business. It still needs some tweaking and rewording, but the heart of what I am trying to communicate it there. I want to thank my good friend Aaron for spending several hours with me on Friday night, helping me rewrite the awful code I had from trying to setup my site myself. The overall look of the site was not the problem, as I do have an education in graphics and design. It was my lack of education in web languages that was causing my webpage to do all sorts of fun, weird, frustrating things. Aaron is an excellent programmer with much to offer. Thanks Aaron for doing in 2 hours what was taking me more than 8 hours to do. Take a few minutes to check out his website:

He and his wife just had a beautiful baby and I had the wonderful privelige of photographing this beautiful new soul.

Head on over and take a look at the site and let me know what you think:

Paul Francis Photography

3-25-2009_009 My dad dropped off a box of old slides from when we were all kids. I have a scanner at home that is specially made for scanning slides and negatives and I now have one more project added to the 15 or so other ones I am in the middle of (including the much anticipated website).

The picture on the left is one of the scanned slides, probably from around 1985. I’m on the far left, followed by my sister Jaclyn, my uncle Dominic, and my brother Peter.

I have found myself reassessing how I approach photography. My philosophy has been that every picture is  valuable, especially when, years from now, our children and grandchildren will want to see what everyone looked like before glasses were obsolete, and before clothing was made out of the shiny silvery stuff they show in futuristic films. (I don’t really believe that is where fashion is going). But my sister Jaclyn presented another thing to think about, with digital cameras, it is so easy to shoot a hundred pictures a week, or per family function, that by the time our future generations sit down to sort through what we have left behind, it will take years to do so. I myself have several thousand shots from the past six years I have owned a digital camera. It takes alot of time as it is to sort through and scan all of the slides and negatives that my father found. But then again, almost every slide holds so much value as I look back into the past. After considering all of this I have found myself sorting through my own digital pictures with a more critical eye, asking myself, what will my future generations want to see, and what pictures are not worth keeping. Sometimes this is just a matter of deleting shots that are a little blurry or repetitive. I can find this to be a very difficult decision at times, but in the end more economical.

Oh, and if anyone has old family slides that they would like to scan, feel free to contact me, I can offer my services for a competitive price.

New Life

March 24, 2009

dsc_0144 On Saturday I went to a friend’s house to take some family pictures and some infant shots of their two week old baby. She was beautiful and easy to take pictures of.  Overall I am very happy with how they came out, but you’ll have to wait until the new website is complete (soon hopefully) to see more…

New Website

March 20, 2009

I have been spending a lot of time developing the new website design. It is Flash based for a smoother, more professional look. Since I  have very little background in computer programming, it is a bit of a learning process, but a rewarding one as I see results.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will be taking some infant and family shots for some friends who had a baby two weeks ago. I am excited for this opportunity as infants tend to be easier to work with, moving a lot less than toddlers do.

March 16, 2009

So I had a family photo shoot this weekend in North Jersey. It went pretty well, and I came away with some good shots that I am happy with. They will be added to the website after I finish making site changes.


Good Deal

March 13, 2009


Hey friends, there is a good deal going on today (Friday) for the Nikon D40. They are selling refurbished  units for only $350. I paid $400for mine two years ago (slightly used) so this is a good deal for one that is factory certified by Nikon. It has received raving reviews as a budget SLR camera and its incredible capabilites. I use it as my primary  tool (until I make enough money to afford a full frame SLR). If you have been considering upgrading and have a tax return you don’t know what to do with, check it out:

J & R Music World

and some reviews:

Ken Rockwell

Spring Hiking

March 9, 2009

Yesterday I went Hiking in North Jersey with some friends. We had perfect weather for the three hour excursion where we encountered some fairly rough terrain and beautiful frozen lakes. The picture below is of a tree  trunk that I was passing while climbing down a rock face. I had to rush to take the shot because as I had people right behind me climbing down, but I think the shot was worth the stop. The gnarly patterns caught my eye and proved to be an interesting subject. A polarizing filter was used for a majority of the shots.