Picture this: you're out and about with your camera, snapping away at the world around you. But wait, what's that? A busy background that's distracting from your gorgeous subject? Fear not, my photography-loving friend! With a few simple tricks up your sleeve, you, too, can achieve that dreamy, creamy bokeh that makes your photos pop. So grab your camera and get ready to blur it!
How to Take a Photo With a Blurred Background?
- Set your camera to aperture priority mode (A or AV).
- Open your aperture as wide as you can (smallest possible f-stop number).
- Move your subject away from the background.
- Get close to your subject or use your lens to zoom in on your subject.
- Take your photo.
Bokeh is a Japanese term for the aesthetic quality of the blurred areas in a photograph. It refers to the way the out-of-focus parts of an image appear, particularly their shape, size, and smoothness. Bokeh helps create a sense of depth and dimensionality in a photograph, drawing the viewer's attention to the subject. By blurring the background, foreground, or other parts of a scene, the photographer can isolate the subject and make it stand out more effectively.
In addition to creating a sense of depth and isolating the subject, bokeh can add a sense of mood or emotion to a photograph. For example, a soft, dreamy bokeh can evoke a sense of romance or nostalgia, while a harsh, jagged bokeh can create a feeling of tension or chaos.
So, how do you create these blurred backgrounds? Let's find out!
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Blurred Background Photography Essentials
First, ensure you have the right gear!
Camera: You need a mirrorless camera or a DSLR camera with a large sensor to capture pretty blur. If you don't have that, you should find a point and shoot camera that allows you to change the settings manually.
Wide Aperture Lens: Your aperture setting is crucial to creating bokeh photographs. Different lenses offer different aperture settings, so look for one with at least an f/2.8 aperture. The lower the f-stop, the more blur you will achieve. My recommendation is to purchase a 50mm or an 85mm lens.
The lower the f-stop, the more blur you will achieve.
Telephoto Lens: Another option is a telephoto lens. This lens helps your background seem closer with a more dramatic blur.
How to Use Aperture to Blur Backgrounds?
Now that you have your gear, you should know how to set your camera. The aperture creates background blur since this setting defines how wide/narrow the lens is. Low numbers mean a wider lens opening and high numbers equal smaller ones. We are striving for a wide aperture to get a blurb since this gives us a shallow depth of field since little of the image will be in focus. Narrow apertures will make your photo more clear.
When photographing a portrait, you should play around with the aperture to get both eyes in focus while blurring the background. You will need to get a little narrow to achieve this. One way to do this is by trying aperture priority mode (A or AV) unless you are comfortable staying in manual mode. Please pay close attention to your shutter speed, don't let it get too low.
A quick tip: Your shutter speed should be higher than your lens number. A 50mm lens doesn't match well with shutter speeds less than 1/50th of a second. This will result in an unsightly noise since the ISO will increase. If you shoot in aperture priority mode (A or AV), the ISO will be selected for you automatically by your camera.
However, on the flip side - if you are taking a group shot and want the background blurred, slowly increase the aperture to get more people in focus. Depending on how much your subject consumes the photograph, you should start low and work up to get a pretty blur.
How to Use Subject Placement to Blur Backgrounds?
Camera settings will get you that gorgeous, blurred background but remember the placement of your subject. Keep your background at a far distance from your subject. If your subject is standing directly in front of a wall of flowers, it might be hard to get those flowers blurred. Have your subject step forward a few feet away to achieve that dreamy and soft bokeh look.
Bonus Tips to Get Better Blurred Backgrounds
Camera equipment, aperture, and subject placement will easily get you a blurred background. However, you should try adding light elements to capture that dreamy bokeh essence. There are many fun and creative ways to introduce light into bokeh photography.
- Christmas lights: String up some colorful Christmas lights in the background of your photo and use a wide aperture to create beautiful, glowing bokeh circles.
- City lights: Take advantage of the bright lights of a city skyline at night to create a dramatic and vibrant bokeh effect.
- Sparklers: Have a friend wave a sparkler in the background of your photo while you use a slow shutter speed and a wide aperture to capture the light trails.
- Candles: Use a candle or multiple candles in the background of your photo to create a soft and warm bokeh effect.
- Street lamps: Use street lamps' bright, warm light to create a unique and moody bokeh effect.
- Fairy lights: Fairy lights can create a magical and dreamy bokeh effect, especially when combined with a wide aperture.
- Fireworks: Capture the colorful bursts of fireworks in the background of your photo to create a festive and celebratory bokeh effect.
By experimenting with different light sources and settings, you can create a wide range of bokeh effects that add depth, interest, and visual appeal to your photographs.
You're now armed with the know-how to create stunning photographs with a blurred background. Whether you're capturing the beauty of nature, the energy of a city, or the magic of a special moment, the right bokeh effect can take your photos to the next level. So get out there and start blurring, experimenting, and having fun!
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