How to Blur Backgrounds in Photography


Blurring backgrounds in digital photography is often done with SLR (single lens reflex) lenses. These allow you to change the depth-of-field of a photo, which is the distance in the picture which is in focus. A short depth-of-field will blur the background behind the main subject of the photo. Shortening the depth-of-field is often accomplished by adjusting the aperture of a lens, which changes the size of the opening in a lens that allows light into the camera.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital camera with manual aperture control
  • Widen the aperture of the lens you are using. Set your camera to aperture priority mode, "A" mode or "Av" mode. Decrease the f-stop by using the down arrow or scroll wheel. The scale of aperture settings is known as the f-stop or f-number. It is denoted as the letter "f" over a number, such as f/8. Typical f-stop values include: f/1.4 through f/8. F/1.4 means that the lens pupil is very wide, letting in a lot of light at once. Lower your f-stop value downwards from 8 in small amounts to determine which aperture level will give the best blurred background.

  • Exchange your lens for a wide angle lens. Wide angle lenses are capable of achieving wider apertures than non-wide angle lenses.

  • Shoot images using a telephoto lens with high focal lengths. Zooming in on your subject will cause the lens to focus all available light on the main subject, blurring out the background.

  • Position the subject of your photograph as far away from the background as possible. Backgrounds which are close to the main subjects provide little distance to be utilized when adjusting depth of field.

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