Shallow DOF with a Kit Lens

 

I am new to DSLR photography and one of the first things I have attempted is to shoot is to get a shallow DOF effect that blurs the background aesthetically. Such photographs have always fascinated me. After a few attempts, I have managed to shoot a blurred background. However, I am unable to get this same effect in every photograph, even while shooting at f/3.5. Please help.
Biswarup Biswas, via email

Depth-of-field is dependent on the focal length at which you are shooting, the aperture, the distance between the subject and the lens and that between the subject and the background. In order to achieve shallow DOF with a regular kit lens, make sure you are shooting at the widest aperture and are at the telephoto end of your lens. Also, move as close to your subject as possible and shoot at the minimum focusing distance. Also, try to get the subject as far from the background as possible. This should give you the shallowest possible depth-of-field with your lens. Lastly, ensure that your focusing is accurate so that your main subjectis perfectly sharp.

This image was shot at the telephoto end at the minimum focusing distance, while using an aperture of f/5.6 on a regular kit lens. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

This image was shot at the telephoto end at the minimum focusing distance, while using an aperture of f/5.6 on a regular kit lens. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Tags: bokeh, Depth of Field, November 2010, Question of the Day, Shallow DOF with a Kit Lens