Photos Matter- Tips for a blurry background
I often hear people comment on blurry backgrounds in photos and wonder how its done. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, these tips will help you out!
Zoom in. One thing that will help your photo have a blurrier background is to zoom in. (Hint: This only works with optical zoom, not digital zoom. For instance, zooming in on your phone camera will not blur the background more.) These two photos were taken from the exact same spot, with the exact same settings. The only difference was that I zoomed in closer in the second one. (I gave them the same crop for comparison.) You can see that the background is just a little bit blurrier in the zoomed in version.
(None of my kids were willing participants, so I had to kidnap Mr. Potato Head.)
Get close. This might sound the same as zoom in, but it’s not. Zoom in with the lens on your camera, but also get physically closer to your subject. In these two pictures, all my settings were the same, including the focal length (how “zoomed in” I was). I just got a little closer in the second one.
Use Portrait Mode. Most cameras have a “portrait mode”. It is usually represented by a picture of a lady with a hat on. In this mode, your camera will usually choose settings that blur the background better than it would in auto.
Use a large aperture. The aperture setting is the most important setting for determining the blurriness of your background. If you are not comfortable using your DSLR in manual mode, you can choose “aperture priority” mode, which is usually represented by the symbol “A” on the selection dial. You will want to choose a large aperture. Remember, the larger the aperture is, the smaller the number is. Your number will be around f/5 with the kit lens, and even lower with other lenses. The lower the number (or larger the aperture), the blurrier your background will be. In these two pictures, you can see the difference that aperture makes.
Now, experiment with some of these tips and see how they affect your photos. If you end up with some images you love, create a layout with them and post them in the gallery. We’d love to see them!