enter image description here

Please let me know what set up is needed to recreate such a photo? What creates this illusion?

closed as unclear what you're asking by mattdm, Romeo Ninov, flolilo, xiota, scottbb Dec 12 '18 at 19:11

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Let's break down the image starting with...

Subject Lighting

When looking at subject lighting, start with the eyes and shadows.

The main light is positioned above the subject and angled down. You can tell the angle by the faint shadows from the nose and chin.

The fill light appears to be coming from on camera or possibly slightly above the camera and is, in my opinion, a very strong fill light. The shadows are almost completely gone from the subject.

This looks almost like a single photographer at an event type shot. Key light is on a monopod being held up and the fill is on camera.

Subject Depth of Field

With a portrait, you expect tack-sharp eyes, which this photo has. But what's interesting is that the front shoulder is also sharp while the mid-chest and hair is starting to blur. This doesn't make sense - if the focus is on the eyes then we would expect the shoulder to be blurred and the necklace to be sharper.

What this means to me, is that a pretty mediocre blur was added in post. The image itself was shot with enough DoF to capture a fully sharp subject, and the photographer then wanted to give the illusion of having shot with a more open aperture (thinner DoF).

Side note: if you are attempting to fake thin DoF, try to match the real-world physics. Blur will intensify the further from the subject one goes in both front and back of the plane of focus.


The background is very fun looking and is far enough away from the subject to where it is thrown out of focus. I do not believe that this was cut in and see no reason why it would be. If you Google "Indian Wedding" - you find many examples of decorations that include colored paneling and bright lights. Put these in the background and throw them out of focus and this is what you get.

  • Maybe it is fake blur. But to my eyes the tip of the nose also appears sharper than the eyes. The lens may have been focused a bit in front of the eyes and nose (somewhere between the distance to the tip of the nose and the distance to the inner edge of the blouse/dress where it goes over the shoulder) but the eyes were just enough within the DoF to still look sharp. In that pose the neck and necklace is behind the eyes and thus further from the point of focus. – Michael C Dec 11 '18 at 17:38
  • @MichaelC that’s true, it could be front focused. Just looks...off...to me – Hueco Dec 11 '18 at 21:31

-aluminium foil as background -you can add christmas tree lights - any small light will do -low aperture value -move away from the background -move closer to your subject -shoot :-)


Backdrop appears to have been used in this photo. Shoot portrait (F stop between 4.5 to 8) keeping in mind embient light, use of flash, fill light, etc.
Second step is to remove background in photo editing program and replace it with something that you prefer.

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