In my camera there is a spot metering mode that its icon is one small circle inside a rectangle. Then in the camera menu I can set how many millimeters around the area is the spot area or something like that if I understood that menu correctly. So it has values like 8mm, 12mm, etc.. so do you think it is generally better to set it on the smallest number? And if I want to take portrait shots of a person for example sitting on a rail road and have background behind him blurry, does it help to pick that smallest number and use spot metering mode? For example a good setting to get something like this? enter image description here

  • What specific camera are you using?
    – Michael C
    Feb 5, 2015 at 0:32
  • @MichaelClark I am using a Nikon D-810
    – Brandon
    Feb 5, 2015 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


Several questions here: Spot metering has to do with what portion of the scene the camera will use to determine proper EXPOSURE, not focus. Your camera MAY have a Focus selection that allows you to select the point in the image that the camera focuses on, but this will be called something like "Focus Point Selection"

To get the blurry background, you want to control the depth of field in the image. To do this you would normally select a wider aperture (smaller F-numbers). This will likely require a corresponding change in shutter speed and/or ISO settings.

  • Oh I see how confused these two: I though when I move the focus point on a subject then it picks an area around that focus point to focus on and I thought that area is these 8mm, 12mm, etc settings.
    – Brandon
    Feb 4, 2015 at 22:54
  • so for example to get a shot like the example I posted: Pick my 85mm, set it on f1.8 , set the focus point on the girl's face and shoot?
    – Brandon
    Feb 4, 2015 at 22:56
  • That would be a start. Although, I like to use an 85mm range for head and shoulder portraits, I might go with something closer to 35mm or wider here.
    – BillN
    Feb 4, 2015 at 22:59
  • I have a 35mm and a 24-70 too, so you think maybe I actually take the 24-70 with me?
    – Brandon
    Feb 5, 2015 at 3:27
  • The example you posted looks more like the blur was added/enhanced in post processing. First, the level of sharpness drops off a cliff a few feet behind the subject instead of gradually softening. Second, there is not the same reduction on sharpness in front of the subject. Third, the sharpness for the subject is fairly consistent all the way from her closest to most distant parts. This leads me to believe the shot was taken at a fairly narrow aperture and the background blur was added/increased dramatically in editing.
    – Michael C
    Feb 5, 2015 at 4:00

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