Background blur. How to get it!

October 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

So often I am asked how I get that lovely soft, dreamy, blurry background in my portrait shots. 

"Do you use an app?  Is it photoshopped?  Is it because you've got a fancy camera?"  Well, the answer is yes you can do all of those things but actually, anyone can achieve background blur to a greater or lesser degree and so in this blog I'm going to show you how.

1. Choose a wide open F stop. 

If you are able to shoot on Aperture Priority (turn the dial to A if you use a Nikon and Av if like me, you're a Canon user), choose a higher f/stop.  Just to confuse you, the lower the number the higher the f/stop.  So, if your lens can go as far as F2.8 then use this as it will give you a very shallow depth of field i.e. only a shallow part of the image will actually be in focus.  If you have a kit lens then don't worry, even at F5.6 you can still achieve a blurry background by using the following tips.

2. Keep your subject as far away from the background as you can.

As I mentioned above, we are looking for a shallow depth of field so if you can separate the subject from the background then that will help enormously.  For example, in the picture below the dog is quite far way from the background trees and so we have that lovely effect where the focus is all on the dog and the tree trunk. 

3.  Use your camera's presets!

These days, cameras are amazing bits of kit so why not take advantage of all that technical wizardry?  Turn your camera dial to portrait mode (the one that looks like a head) and voila!!   This setting will instantly work out a shallow depth of field and turn the focus onto your subject rather than the background without you having to worry about dialling any settings manually.

 

So there you are - three very easy steps to achieving a blurred background no matter what kit you own.

 


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