What is Intentional Camera Defocusing also known as “ICD”?

While this might seems strange to some, Intentional Camera Defocusing consist in, you read it right, defocusing the camera intentionally to create a special effect.  At longer focal length and large aperture, the aesthetic property of an image could be stunning.  This is generally called bokeh.  Read on defocus aberration on Wikipedia to learn more about it.

Nice bokeh is often looked for when making portraits of peoples.  It helps separate the background (defocused) from the subject and it could be very aesthetic.  In some occasion, it could be interesting to focus a little bit in front of the subject to accentuate the out of focus area.  This is particularly effective at smaller aperture or shorter focal length when the in-focus distance is greater than needed.

Why Using Intentional Camera Defocusing?

In some circumstances, having the subject somewhat out of focus, could create a dreamy effect that is very interesting.  This is not ICD.  Intentional Camera Defocusing is like turning the focus ring at the extreme opposite of what is needed to create a sharp picture.  These picture are then use as the background in a montage.  Most quotes shared on Instagram and Pinterest use this technique.

Should you want to these type of montage, you will need to create these images for your own background.

How to use Intentional Camera Defocusing?

  • Chose a lens that is appropriate for it:
    • A telephoto lens;
    • A very bright (large aperture) lens;
    • A macro lens.
  • Keep the aperture wide open;
  • Set your lens to manual;
  • Focus at the extreme opposite of what is needed:
    • Get very close to the subject or;
    • Chose a very remote scene.
  • Use live-view or your Electronic Viewfinder to compose;
  • Use exposure compensation to create darker or lighter images.

Examples of Intentional Defocusing Use:

Here are a few examples of Intentional Defocusing image with the way I use them.  As you can see these could be very useful at time.

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