Layer cake

A concept that can help explain (and darer I say it, create) interest in images? Layering.

This means “dividing your image into visioble layers. You can do this by blurring parts of the image that are separate from the parts you want to draw attention to – i.e. by selective use of narrow depth of field.

Start with a fairly mundane image:

Argicultural field (Photo: Michael Willems)

Now add a foreground layer:

Agricultural field (Photo: Michael Willems)

We could have blurred the foreground – often, that works too. The foreground becomes a frame.

And now, one more: even more extreme – get closer to a larger object:

Agricultural field (Photo: Michael Willems)

And finally, an image with three layers: skeleton 1, skeleton 2, and background:

Skeleton fun (Photo: Michael Willems)

Nice eh? And easy to do. Get close, select a large aperture, focus using one focus point.


1 thought on “Layer cake

  1. Michael –
    Thanks for the layering reminder, especially Yorick and friend. I plan to try an open air portrait, at the lakefront, in the early afternoon light at what promises to be a colourful cultural event, and layering may help. This would be with a Canon Rebel with a 18-50 mm Sigma lens, and a 30 mm Sigma prime. I’ve been looking back through your portraits posts (multiple thanks for them) and, with a holiday w/end coming up, wonder if you might share more wisdom on how to deal with these conditions. (Have Hoya PRO1 circular PL filter).
    Thank you!

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