How to take photos with a blurry background

If you wondered how to make the background in the photo blurry so that using the correct focus only the most important element in the photo is highlighted, then you will find useful information from this article :).

Blurred back and front background. My photo. F2.0, 50mm, ISO 200, 4000 ', Helios-81n, Nikon D40

Blurred background and foreground. My photo. F2.0, 50mm, ISO 200, 4000 ′, Helios-81n, Nikon D40


The blurred background in the photo can be in two main ways:

1. Using the camera settings
2. Using software

Blurred photo

Blurred photo


On the blurring power and creating bokeh is the strongest The following physical parameters affect:

  1. Geometric aperture lens, it’s the same aperture. The smaller the F number, the finer the depth of field (depth of sharply depicted space) and the more the background and background are blurred.
  2. The focal length of the lens. The larger the focal length of the lens, the more the background will be blurred.
  3. Focusing distance to the subject. The shorter the focus distance (the distance between the camera and what you shoot), the more blurred the background.
  4. The distance between the subject and the background. The farther the background from the subject, the more blurry it is.
  5. Optical design (more specifically affects the nature of the blur). The better the optical design, the more pleasant the bokeh :)
  6. Indirectly affects matrix size the camera. More than matrix size, the more viewing angle and the closer you need to get to the subject, which, in fact, rests on the 3rd point. Therefore, they argue that full-format cameras blur the background more strongly than cropped. Speaking rudely, the more crop factorthe harder it is to blur the background.
  7. Also, blurring is affected by special nozzles and filters on the lens. Here an example of a simple home-made Center Spot filter.

You can also blur the background using special graphic editors. But, of course, a more natural and natural blurring of the background occurs directly when shooting. In order to blur the background with the camera as much as possible, you need to configure it correctly.

What is the best way to set up your camera

1. Need to maximize aperture... F-number is usually responsible for the aperture. It is very convenient to take photos with a blurred background in the aperture priority mode, which is indicated on the camera mode dial by the letters'A' or 'Av'. Open - means to decrease the F number. For example, the F3.5 aperture value is greater than the F5.6 aperture value. If, for example, the camera is set to F8.0, then to open the aperture you need to lower it to the minimum allowable, usually F5.6, F3.5, F2.8. On fast lenses, even F1.8 and F1.4 can be set. For example, on a piece of paper I printed “This is the background” and to blur it I first shot at F / 1.4, and in order to develop it more, I shot at 16.0

The effect of the aperture on the depth of field and on the blurriness of the background

The effect of the aperture on the depth of field and on the blurriness of the background

2. You need the maximum focal length on your existing lens (that is, unscrew the zoom to maximum). Than more will be the focal length, the easier it will be to blur the background. To do this, you should make the maximum approximation on a digital camera, and on a SLR - simply transfer the lens to the focal length with the maximum number. For example, if you have a standard '18 -55mm 'class lens, then it will be best to blur the background at 55mm (at the maximum extreme position with the largest number of focal lengths). On a regular digital camera (aka 'soapbox'), sometimes you can simply turn on the macro mode, while the lens itself is set to the maximum focal length.

Sample photo with blurry background

Sample photo with blurry background

3. Finally, get as close as possible to the subject you are shooting. The closer the subject is to the lens, the stronger the blur. In this case, the lens will focus closer and closer. Just see that the frame is well-arranged, otherwise you can shoot something completely different from what was planned.

Sample photo with blurry background

Sample photo with blurry background


Boke

Of course, many have heard of bokeh. Bokeh is the nature of the background blur, including its intensity. If the lens blurs the background well, then the lens is said to have good bokeh. There is a lot of debate about the beauty of bokeh - which lens is better or worse. Bokeh has its own plasticity, distortions, twisting, etc., the feeling of beauty of bokeh comes with experience and each has its own.

Sample photo with blurry background. Soft bokeh

Sample photo with blurry background. Soft bokeh


Chasing bokeh

The pursuit of better bokeh is a comparison of a huge number of shots, all sorts of arguments in favor of a particular lens, which leads to the pursuit of fast and long-focus lenses, which cost a lot of money.

Sample photo with blurry background

Sample photo with blurry background


Which lens blurs the background the most

Coming from previous thoughts, the lens with a large focal length and large aperture... For example, 50mm lenses blur the background well - lenses with a XNUMXmm focal length and a large aperture F1.4, the short telephones of the 135mm F2.0 type blur the background even more strongly, the 200 mm F2.0 telephones are even stronger, and so on. But the longer the focal length and the larger aperture, the more expensive the lens. Therefore, usually amateurs stop at a fifty-kopeck piece of the 50mm F1.4 type, or on a dark, but long-focus telephoto lens of the 70-300mm F4.0-5.6 type. Which lens is best for you - it depends only on your personal considerations.

Sample photo with blurry background

Sample photo with blurry background


More thoughts about blurring

If you delve into the subtleties of what affects the bokeh more, then it is difficult to reach a consensus, but please note that sometimes the focal length affects more than aperture the lens. Also, the blur of the background is indirectly affected by the size of the sensor for the same lens. So on full-frame cameras they say that blur is stronger with the same lens. The depth of field of the lens does not change - it is a physical quantity. So what's the catch? And the catch is that the focusing distance of the lens changes to compose the same frame. And of course, the farther the background is from the subject, the more it will blur. By the way, short-focus lenses with large aperture it’s better to blur the background, which is close to the subject.

Background blur in a full-length portrait

Background blur in a full-length portrait


Photoshop will also help

If the picture is taken and you want to blur the background, then Photoshop or another program will come to the rescue. There are a lot of blur methods and I will not dwell on them.

What is blurring the front and back (far) plan in general?

What is blurring the front and back (far) plan in general?


Conclusions:

For maximum blur, shoot with the widest aperture and the maximum focal length of your lens. In this case, the further the distance between the background and the subject is and the closer the distance between the camera and the subject, the more the background will be blurred. If the camera cannot provide a normal blur, you can finish it in a special program, such as Photoshop.

↓↓↓ Like it :) ↓↓↓ Thank you for your attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 444, on the topic: How to take pictures with a blurred background

  • Dmitriy

    Arkady, something has been written a lot about bokeh, but not a single example. And besides, the main indicator of good bokeh is the disc of confusion, and you have not a word about it.
    this is what the generally accepted good bokeh looks like
    http://photo.vargone.ru/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/nokt-20781219972644348281bju2.jpg

    Well, a small collection of bokeh from different lenses, if interested
    http://photo.vargone.ru/blog/?page_id=725&page=2
    there are 2 pages

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Please note that this article is about a different topic, bokeh is only briefly touched upon. The article itself contains links to an article about bokeh - https://radojuva.com.ua/2012/08/boke-bokeh-review/

    • SONY

      > this is what the generally accepted good bokeh looks like

      There is “background twisting” here. Although I personally like this effect very, very much, there are three Helios at home, but other people consider this a terrible defect in the optical circuit. So it's hard to talk about general acceptance here.

      • At first I also liked the "background twist". Then the beginning to irritate as too psychedelic picture comes out. It's hard to look at her for a long time. But my opinion doesn't matter here. I collected some statistics by reading the bokeh forums. More often the bokeh of Helios (I sold them all, but there were 4 pieces) I like it until I saw the bokeh of Zeiss, say .. :) (I don't mean you).
        Probably, I hurried about universality :) there is nothing universally recognized.

        We are waiting for an article about bokeh from Arkady, I think Arkady has a lot of Soviet optics.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          There is optics, there is not enough time, but I will try to do it.

    • Igor

      Do you like a camera on yak?

  • Aleks de Kairoy

    Thank you. Interesting article, take note

  • Andrei

    Excellent article!

  • Oleg

    And what is the best way to blur the background and make the photo sharper, large aperture or telephoto at high magnification. Indeed, the more open the aperture, the more soapy (soft) the image. And with a long focal lens, aperture 5.6 is sharper? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If the telephoto is cheap, then its sharpness at 5.6 will be bad, since 5.6 will be the maximum aperture for the telephoto lens. If the task is to achieve a sharp image, then fast aperture lenses will give sharpness at stop apertures less than zoom lenses at similar focal lengths. Although, everything is very dependent on direct copies.

  • xenia

    I bought a Nikon d5100 yesterday. I read an article and I can’t understand where to find this button for setting the aperture, I want to learn how to take a picture with a blurred background

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Turn the camera control wheel to mode A (where P, A, S, M, auto, etc.), and then use the selector to set the desired aperture :)

      • Anastasia

        and then select the desired aperture with the selector

        ___
        What is it like? Explain, please :)

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Find in the instructions which button (selector) is responsible for setting the aperture on your camera, after which you need to set the desired aperture.

  • Zhenya

    And on the Nikon d3100 kit 18-55, is it possible to blur the background like on the d90?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Can. Blur on Nikon DX cameras does not depend on the camera itself, but only on the lens and settings.

  • Barbara

    Hello. For a long time I want to learn how to make a blurry background on my nikon d40 camera. Nikkor 18-55 lens. So here you have everything very clearly written, but for some reason I can’t get it anyway. I set it to mode A, then set the minimum aperture value to 5,3 and brought the subject closer. but the background is not blurred. Maybe such a simplicity is impossible with this lens, or am I doing something wrong? I will be glad to help.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This lens is difficult to do, just at 5.3, 5.6 and 55 mm of focal length, the background will blur only small objects (flowers, etc.).

  • Barbara

    Thank you, Arkady for the answer. And if you buy one of those lenses that you wrote in this article? https://radojuva.com.ua/2010/12/obzor-nikon-d40-otzuvu/ Will it work out? By the way, I remembered when I photographed all sorts of butterflies and insects, it turned out a blurred background.

  • Barbara

    Thank you!

  • Lyaka

    Many thanks! Your articles are a real discovery for me! For a complete beginner, everything is clear, accessible, and most importantly, nothing more!

  • Nadia

    Hello Arkady, I would like to consult with you .. I am going to buy a DSLR and settled on two versions of the Nikon D3100 Kit 18-55mm VR and Canon EOS-1100D 18-55IS. In which case it will be possible to take pictures with a larger background blur .. this option is for me priority. Thanks in advance!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Both options with the same lens. Blur will be the same.

  • Alexander

    Arkady Shapoval, many thanks for your articles!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It's my pleasure. Do not forget HELP PROJECT.

  • LINA

    Tell me please, can you get the blur on the OLIMPUS SZ20?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, you can. How to do this is written in the article.

  • I'm going to take a nikon coolpix p510 camera I can’t understand if I can take pictures with a blurry background ... and indeed, is it worth it ... tell me

    leta-zlaya@mail.ru

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Confused the name and comment fields.
      Whether or not the blurry background of the invested money is worth it is up to you.

  • Summer

    so it means I will still have the opportunity to take pictures with a blurry background with this camera?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, only the background will not be blurry much.

  • Tatyana

    Good day! Please tell me how to achieve a blurry background. I have a SONY 57 camera, a lens 3,5-5,6 / 18-55SAM. Maybe I need to change the lens? I tried everything, there is no desired effect. Tell me which lens is needed? Thanks in advance!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The lens is rather weak for blurring. You can look towards 50mm

  • Tatyana

    Thank you! I'm just not that good at it, but I really want a blurred background!

  • Andrei

    Thank you very much, your articles help very well. It remains only to put into practice and learns from mistakes.
    But I really want to learn how to shoot at night, I read it here, but the photos always turn out the wrong way ...

  • Oleg

    And, you can get a blurred background at NIGHT, with lenses 13-55, 75-300, if so, how. Thank you in advance!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, you can, using the techniques described in this article. For blur, it does not depend on whether it is night or day.

  • Jack Danyalov

    please tell me how well the Nikkor 70-300 VR lens is suitable for portrait shooting? I have a Nikon D5100 camera. thank you in advance

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Pretty good, but a bit dark.

      • Jack Danyalov

        But what kind of zoom do you recommend for an affordable price? I already have a fifty dollars, but I would like to zoom for a portrait

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Tokina 50-135 2.8, Sigma 50-150 2.8, there are no native cheap alternatives

        • Andrei

          Much better Nikon 70-210 / 4 used

  • Jack Danyalov

    Well then, all the same, I will focus on 70-300, because according to your review (https://radojuva.com.ua/2011/10/obzor-nikon-70-300mm-f-4-5-5-6g-ed-if-af-s-vr-zoom-nikkor/) I realized that during the day you can make excellent portraits, especially on crop. thanks a lot

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I support your choice. This is a good lens.

  • Jack Danyalov

    By the way, here I’ve read today about Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD whose price is a bit cheaper than that of Nikkor and it seems that the reviews are pretty good. what do you think about this lens? Is it worth it to overpay for Nikkorovsky? Or is the tamron good?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Not used, I can not tell.

  • Oksana

    please tell me, and on Olympus X-44 you can take such pictures (with a blurred background)?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Can.

  • Olka

    Please tell me, Arkady. here I have a Sony HX100V camera. Well, I just can’t learn how to make a blurry background. Tell me, this is generally possible on my technique. I really want to. thank you in advance

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Difficult, but possible.

  • Julia

    Arkady, I ask for advice .. I want to take a camera on which you can take more or less good photos ... and a completely normal blurred background ... a landmark up to 3500 UAH ... is it possible in this case to pick up any variant?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, you can, for example, you can Nikn D80 + Nikkor 50mm f1.8D.

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