Photography: how to blur background

In professional photography, it is not uncommon to see blurred backgrounds, especially when shooting portraits.

What seems to be a hard effect to achieve is actually manageable with any DSLR.

First of all, it is important to choose the parts of the subject that you would like to have in full focus. Using the automatic camera setting on the picture of the flowers here, both the flowers and the background would appear in focus. The whole thing is simply based on adjusting the camera’s aperture setting. Here is a step-by-step guide to achieve this effect:

1) Switch your camera to Aperture Priority mode by turning the mode dial to ‘A’ or on Canon models, ‘Av’.

2) Stand back a little and zoom-in your lens – this will accentuate the effect.

3) Select the smallest f-number that’s available. If you’re using a kit lens and you’re zoomed-in, this will usually be around f5.6.

4) To further accentuate the effect, increase the distance between the subject and the background. So keep the person relatively close to you for a head and shoulders shot, and position them against distant background.

5) After taking your photo, remember to set the mode dial back to Auto or Program mode.

If you are shooting a moving subject, the best technique starts from moving your camera to follow the subject and keep it sharp while blurring the background.

1) Achieve this by trying different shutter speeds to balance the background blur you want against the subject blur you don’t want, try a 1/125 second shutter speed to begin with.

2) A useful tip is to keep your body and the camera as steady as possible. Track the subject through the viewfinder and make sure your camera is focusing properly on the subject.

This technique uses the blurred background to highlight the motion of the subject, whereas background blurred solely through a shallow depth of field is used to make the subject stand out from its surroundings.

Alternatively, you can also employ Photoshop. Simply select the background and use the blur filter, but keep in mind that this technique does not create true depth.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *