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

  • Oksana

    I'm new to this business! The article is quite accessible. Your work is absolutely delighted. Thanks.

  • Andrei

    Good afternoon!

    I read your articles with great interest. Very informative. A little about myself: in childhood (7-8 grade) I was very fond of photography. You may remember this time: FED-5, black and white film and the romantic red light of a photo lamp in the bathroom. :) Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. I gave up my hobby. Almost 20 years have passed ... Just the other day I bought a DSLR - Nikon D3100 with a kit 18-55 lens. Yeah ... Much has changed during this time. The technique has gone ahead ... I'm trying to take photos with a blurred background. Not very good at it: I take pictures in A mode. I set focus to 55 (by the way, is it better to use autofocus or turn it manually?). I set the aperture to 5.6. ISO - 100. And somehow the blurry background does not come out very well: (Can you tell a newbie something? (You have to learn everything first) Thank you very much for your answer.

    • Vladimir

      I join the question: a similar situation (with the exception of the D5200 and ISO = 200). It seems to be doing everything as it is written in the article. The distance to the object is about 3m.

    • Alexey

      There is no difference between auto focus or manual, the main thing is to catch the focus on the object.

    • Sergei

      Andrey, I, too, are only 28 years old.

    • Alexey

      I have a PENTAX k-5 with the same whale 18-55, it’s difficult to blur the background very much, but read the author of the article, zoom at 55 and as close to the subject as possible, you can’t get beautiful bokeh, but the background is really blurred.

    • Ivan

      I have a D3100. We put two packs of cigarettes, 30 cm deep, between them. Mode A, F 5. Approach 40 cm to the first pack, play with focus and that's it, the back one is blurred ... We focus on the back one, the front one is blurred…. Arkady respect!

  • Zamira

    Please forgive me! And which soap dishes support this function?

    • Gromozeka

      It is very, very difficult to blur the background with soap dishes. Try to set the maximum optical zoom at ultrazoom, get as close to the subject as possible at the maximum zoom. In this case, it is desirable that the background was much farther from the subject in comparison with the distance from you to the subject. The size of the camera matrix indirectly affects. The larger the matrix, the wider the angle of view and the closer you need to approach the subject, which, in fact, rests on the third point. Therefore, they argue that full-frame cameras blur the background more than cropped ones. Roughly speaking, the larger the crop factor, the more difficult it is to blur the background. Soap boxes have the highest crop factor of all cameras - so there is no blur.

  • Andrei

    Since Arkady has not yet answered you, I will answer: soap dishes do not support normal blur. However, you can achieve a pretty good blur effect if you turn on macro mode and get as close to the subject as possible. Also, keep in mind that the further the subject is from the background, the better the blur will be. In general, in the article Arkady described everything perfectly.

  • Jury

    You read the article inattentively ... (1. You need to open the aperture as much as possible. The aperture is usually the F number. It is very convenient to take photos with a blurred background in the aperture priority mode, which is designated as A or Av. Open means decreasing the F number. .3.5 larger than F5.6 aperture

  • Marik

    and what function do you need to set to then twist the aperture

    • Sultan

      AV - Canon
      A - Nikon

  • Alexey

    offtop:
    Arkady, I have one question for you: How, how do you withstand such a stream of similar, repeated questions ?! For endurance, and of course for respect articles! _)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I just work as a photographer, I constantly hear the same questions not only from readers, but also from clients, because with time I just don’t pay attention.

  • Marina

    How to make the background blurry on samsung wb100 ?????

    • Gromozeka

      samsung wb100 blur the background is very very difficult. Try to put the maximum optical zoom on the samsung wb100, as close as possible to the subject with maximum zoom. In this case, it is desirable that the background was much further from the subject compared to the distance from you to the subject. Indirectly affects the size of the matrix of the camera. The larger the size of the matrix, the larger the viewing angle and the closer you need to get closer to the subject, which, in fact, rests on the 3rd point. Therefore, they claim that full-format cameras blur the background more strongly than cropped ones. Roughly speaking, the larger the crop factor, the more difficult it is to blur the background. Samsung wb100 has the highest crop factor of all the fotiks - accordingly, there is no blur.

  • Zhenya

    Personally, though I am “distant”, I understood everything at once and respect to the great author !!!!; ) but I want to say, I got blur and bokeh even on the “automatic”! )) really tried only with small objects…. Thank you very often, everything is very intelligible, even a slipy could learn !!!!

  • Inna

    Hello, I bought a Canon PowerShot SX500 IS camera, I really like the blurred background, but I don’t know how to do it. If it’s not hard to write, please… .thanks.

    • Max

      Inna, this question is described in the article above

    • Gromozeka

      Canon PowerShot SX500 IS blurring the background is very, very difficult. Try setting maximum optical zoom on the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS, getting as close to your subject as possible with maximum zoom. On the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS, set the mode to Av. Next, set the aperture value to F5.6 or F6.3. In this case, it is desirable that the background was much further from the subject compared to the distance from you to the subject. Indirectly affects the size of the matrix of the camera. The larger the size of the matrix, the larger the viewing angle and the closer you need to get closer to the subject. Therefore, they claim that full-format cameras blur the background more strongly than cropped ones. Roughly speaking, the larger the crop factor, the more difficult it is to blur the background. The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has the highest crop factor of all the cameras - accordingly, there is no blur.

  • Catherine

    The author told everything in a very accessible way, I am also just learning, and I understand everything here, thank you, Arkady, for trying to help us all with something! But I DO NOT understand people who have written in the text: for the most blurred background, the aperture should be at the maximum, and they are surprised that with the aperture value of 5.6, they do not succeed ...

    • Olga

      on this lens aperture 5.6 at maximum

  • Olga

    Hello Arkady !!! Help me please! I got a nikon d90 camera. I try to blur the background, everything is as it should be. Aperture priority, I extend the lens, I open the aperture as much as possible. But blurring occurs not only in the background, in the overall picture. WHEN I CLICK, the camera does not immediately take pictures, after a few seconds, respectively, my hands are shaking and the whole picture is blurred. What to do???

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The fact that the number φ becomes larger is normal. Try raising your ISO to get a faster shutter speed and reduce blur.

  • aboltus

    Help how to blur the background ah? And what is a diaphragm? I don’t have such a thing on the camera. Fotik iPhone

    • Gromozeka

      On an iPhone, blurring the background is very, very difficult. Try while you can get closer to the subject. In this case, it is desirable that the background was much further from the subject compared to the distance from you to the subject. Indirectly affects the size of the matrix of the camera. The larger the size of the matrix, the larger the viewing angle and the closer you need to get closer to the subject. Therefore, they claim that full-format cameras blur the background more strongly than cropped ones. Roughly speaking, the larger the crop factor, the more difficult it is to blur the background. IPhone has the highest crop factor of all fotiks - respectively, and no blur.

      Well, in order to get a blurry iPhone, just drop it against the wall. You can not very much.

  • Sergei

    Thanks for the informative information, I also decided to take the photo when the circle went to the photo, how much time has passed

  • Sergei

    Recently, even a diplomat in a corner garage found with a fixer and fixer a bathtub and a fotik change of 8m and another half-dead enlarger nostalgia took this

  • Dasha

    NIKON COOLPIX P520 can do blurred background

    • Gromozeka

      no

  • Marina

    Canon PoverShot SX150 IS Camera. How to reduce the number F, and make a blurry background?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You will find the answer to this question in the instructions for your PoverShot SX150 IS

  • timer

    I recently purchased a PoverShot SX150 IS. with instructions for "you". tell me what is the priority of exposure. and at what aperture will the washed background be obtained - F3,4 or F 8,0? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Gromozeka

      shutter priority - Av. A washed-out background will be obtained with an aperture of F3,4.

  • Igor

    Arkady, thank you very much for the consultation. Everything is clear, except for one thing. I have a Nikon 5100 18-105. 1. I set aperture priority A. At the same time, F-3,5 is the minimum for my lens .. 2. I zoom to the maximum of the subject, and when zooming, F naturally increases to 5,6. Then you write that you need to reduce F to the minimum. And how can you decrease it if it increases in parallel with zooming ??? HERE IS A QUESTION OF QUESTIONS !!! The combination of a button and a “control” lamb does not help. If Arkady is not on the site, I will be grateful to everyone for help.

    • Victor

      If possible, I will be responsible for Arkady, because he has no time for this :). You have a whale lens and it is structurally designed so that with a change in the FR at max. diaphragm, the diaphragm itself changes in the stow reduction. Those. at 18-F-3,5; at 105-F5,6. Once again: with FR-105 max. the aperture will be no more than 5,6. Do not get confused with the numerical aperture value: F3,5 is much larger than F5.6 :)

  • Igor

    Arkady, and other very important questions:
    1. Is it possible to adjust the zoom if the AUTO mode is on my whale lens? The great-grandfather says it is strictly forbidden, the lens will break.
    2. I read somewhere that there is a lens with a motor, and there is without it. I have 55-105 which one? What does this motor give?
    3. And finally, I understand that if I set the A-diaphragm mode on the carcass, then I must definitely switch to the M-manual mode on the lens?

  • Stanislaus

    Igor, unfortunately, the aperture value of 5,6 is the maximum that your 18-105 lens can offer you. It's honestly written about it on its body. At the minimum focal length of your lens (18 mm), it can open the aperture up to 3,5, at a long focal length (105 mm) it will be at least 5,6. Have you heard the term "dark zoom" ?. This is about your lens.
    Buy high-aperture optics. Or experiment with the parameters that Arkady gave in the article: the distance to the subject (the closer you get to the model, the more the background will blur), the distance from the subject to the background (try to “tear off” the model from the background). In principle, with a certain skill and at an aperture of 5,6 on a cropped camera, you can get quite artistically blurred photos.

    Olga wants to say the following with the D90: an expensive and high-quality camera is not a reason to get good pictures. You have no idea even about the elementary principles of the camera and do not even imagine how ridiculous and “offensive” your questions are. Take the time and money to take at least some basic photography classes. There is no other way for you. So far, everything is very bad and there will definitely not be any sense from stupid questions on sites like this. Even if they answer them patiently and in detail ..

    Akadiy, first of all, thanks - you are a great fellow

    But let me join those who ask you not to waste time and energy on answering the questions of authors like Olga with D90. You told her to raise the ISO. Surely, madame was thrown into confusion with such an answer)))) After all, for her the concepts of “aperture”, “exposure”, “sensitivity” are like the basics of quantum physics for a first grader. The next question will be “what is ISO. And so on ad infinitum.
    Olga, like her, will find the courage to spend precious hours of her life mastering the basics of photography - your site will be a good help for them to improve in their favorite hobby or even profession. But no, it means they don’t need it.

    • anonym

      Stanis, you didn’t understand me. If I put aperture priority on the carcass (action 1), then (action 2) I unscrew the zoom to the limit (up to 105 in my version), respectively, I will have F 5,6 (automatically!). Then please explain to me for what purpose Arkady introduced the third point - “Then reduce F to the minimum”? With the maximum zoom out (105), the minimum F-5,6 is set in parallel. You can increase F manually (with a lamb), but you can no longer reduce it in any way. At least in my Nikon5100. Then what is the point of including the third point in the manual: ”” Then reduce F to the minimum ”?

      • Arkady Shapoval

        Everything is very simple. If before this you had, for example, F / 11, then it should be reduced to the minimum (set the minimum).

        • Stanislaus

          Arkady, well, honestly!
          Think great. Do not waste yourself in this kindergarten.

      • Stanislaus

        Yes, Dmitry, I did not understand you.
        I don’t understand why you bought your SLR camera if you don’t have the slightest desire to master it ..
        While for you the “QUESTION OF QUESTIONS” will seem to open the aperture wider, even the lens construct allows, “read Marx”, and do not clog this wonderful resource with your ignorance

  • Stanislaus

    Igor, your last three questions are shocking.
    You are a man - well, read at least some literature. Well, at least the instructions.
    The answer is simply from male solidarity:
    - you are confused in terms: zoom and focus, AUTO mode. It's all from different operas. You can always zoom in. In all focusing modes. Further. Your camera is AUTOMATIC. And the lens is AUTOMATIC too. This means that the camera itself focuses on the object (it turns the lens focusing ring itself - not to be confused with the zoom ring !!!) until you tell it otherwise. The seller did not recommend that you turn the focusing ring in order to avoid damage to the lens. In all modes: M, A, S, P, AUTO, the camera focuses itself. And only if in the camera menu you specify “MANUAL focusing mode”, and on the lens you move the slider to the M position, you will be able to focus manually. But, judging by the level of your knowledge, you do not need this. Therefore, zoom the lens with your hands, and the camera will do the rest for you.
    2. Your camera will automatically focus on ONLY motorized lenses. Correctly this motor is called “autofocus drive”. The D5100 does not have its own autofocus drive. Therefore, your 18-105 lens naturally has a focus drive.
    3. As I said, with your level of knowledge, the only lens we can cut is A. It does not need to be switched anywhere. Let it remain on A. At the same time, you can set any exposure mode on the camera: P, S, A, M, Auto and other user modes.

    And finally, the fourth: Igor, what you are doing now is the road to nowhere. Go to the courses. It is necessary. Let the very beginning. 4-6 lessons of 2-3 hours will be enough to read sites like this with completely different eyes. Believe me.

  • anonym

    Stanis and no need to smack nonsense. You write: “And only if in the camera menu you tell it“ focus mode MANUAL ”, and on the lens slide the slider to the M position, you will be able to focus manually”. But what if I set the priority of the aperture or shutter speed on the camera, of course, by switching the lens (not to be confused with the camera) to “M” mode, I will not be able to adjust the sharpness manually; sharpness ring? Think what you write! I had similar questions because I did not have instructions for the lens in the kit, but also because the “smart sellers” from “Eldorado” told me absolute nonsense! Moreover, this nonsense that in the “M” mode on the lens it is impossible to turn not only the sharpness ring, but also the zoom - was confirmed again when I bought the bag.

  • Stanislaus

    Before you stare, first understand why your lens itself closes the diaphragm at the long end.
    I’m trying to help you, but you are insolent.
    Some lenses generally have an AM mode and you can, having focused automatically, “tighten” the sharpness yourself. For you, lamer, I have described the general algorithm. You're Igor, aren't you? Just under the name anonymous today?
    What are you trying to blame me? You do not know how your lens is arranged. Your knowledge about the device of your camera is zero. You did not bother to read a single instruction. And if you read, then this is generally a difficult case. And even more difficult case, buying a SLR camera, listen to the seller in Eldorado.
    There may be two tips for you: either give up this thing that is bad for you, or if you really want to learn something, go to the courses.
    Taking out Arkady's brain with stupid questions is a road to nowhere - I already told you about this above.
    This site must be silently read. It is desirable, understanding what it is about. What Arkady gives here assumes an elementary set of knowledge of the resource visitor.

    • Grind

      Stop being rude !!!! If so smart, share your experience, but don’t humiliate others who are just learning and asking for advice. Unpleasant to read your answers.

  • Natalia

    Tell me how to make a blurry background on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300. Thanks in advance.

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