Calling all portrait photographers!

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by alex_ethridge, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Good morning you beautiful people!

    So, I posted a thread earlier on Lightroom but I wanted to separate my subjects in question.
    For you portrait professionals: What are some tips for getting those perfectly blurred backgrounds with a sharp subject such as the one pictured below? I'm not sure if it is a matter of DOF or changing my camera setting, or both. I'm curious as to what process you use, camera equipment and basically any tips you could offer me. Thank you SO much!!

    P.S. I upgraded to the Canon EOS 80D earlier in the year and currently shooting with a 50mm/1.8 lens View attachment 147918 . I believe this lens to be an affordable portrait lens, suggestions on that topic are welcome as well. :)

    Please do not post images to which you do not hold rights. You may post links.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2017
  2. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Might I add, a PF user pointed out that to post a link vs. a photo for copyright reasons. I thought it would be okay being I chose a photo with the photographers logo clearly shown. If this is still an issue please let me know. TIA
     
  3. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You can go back to your original posts and edit them -- replace the photo with a link to the photo. A moderator will otherwise soon delete the photo.

    Joe
     
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You get a blurry background by:

    1. First and foremost separating your subject from the background -- distance -- the more the better.
    2. Second separate yourself from the subject and use a long lens to reduce the field of view -- that's again distance -- the more the better.
    3. Third, use a large aperture opening on the lens (eg. f/2 instead of f/11).
    4. Fourth, use a larger as opposed to smaller recording media -- larger sensor/film camera.

    Use all four of the above together for maximum effect. I listed them in priority order although it's arguable whether 2. should come before 1.

    Joe
     
  5. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    1. Wide aperture (smaller f/number is better- e.g. 2.8 is better than 11). However, TOO wide and your depth of field begins to suffer (you can't get all of your subject in focus).
    2. Get your subject as close as posible.
    3. If you have control over it, have the background as far away as possible.
    4. Longer lenses produce the effect more easily.
     
  6. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Great minds! Our second point differs, but I'm sure you have set it forth better.
     
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  7. snowbear

    snowbear Big Furball Supporting Member

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    Yes, it is against TPF rules to post an image to which you don't have permission, even if it is watermarked.

    Ysarex & Peeb have given some good advice on getting OOF backgrounds.
     
  8. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I just noticed your comment that you have a 50mm 1.8 for your 80D. The f/1.8 aperture is good. You can buy faster glass (f/1.4 - 1.2) but the price ramps up quickly. In place of faster glass you would be better off to back up more and then increase the lens focal length to compensate -- an 80 to 100mm lens rather than the 50mm. You need to make sure you have room to back up.

    Joe
     
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Last week she was talking about getting an 85mm lens.

    I'm not familiar with the Canon line (as I said before), but at 85mm, f/1.8, with the background some distance from your subject, you should get a fair amount of blur.

    The desired amount of blur is one reason I pointed out that you could also be considering something longer, such as 100mm, 105mm, 180mm, etc. More blur and easier to get it.

    Additionally, I wish to remind you that blur alone might be attractive blur, or ugly blur. If you want pretty blur, start reading reviews and looking at sample photos for what kind of blur any particular lens gives. All blur is not the same.
     
  10. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well thats the two aspects of portrait photography which are kind of popular to archieve separation of subject and a background that should not distract from the subject:

    1. Depth of Field (DoF)

    2. Bokeh


    The more shallow the DoF, the more out of focus is any background and foreground. This can be so extreme that even parts of the subject itself start to be out of focus, until only (hopefully) the eyes, or at least the closer eye, are or is still really in focus.

    A more shallow DoF is archieved by wider aperture, longer focal length, and closer focus.

    Unlike the two previous posters suggested, sensor size has nothing to do with this; DoF is purely a product of the lens and not the sensor. Larger sensors only cause the viewing angle of a lens of a given focal length to widen.

    These three parameters all have a very strong affect, basically improving by two stops for every stop(1). This rule however only works if you measure aperture directly by the diameter, not by the f/<n> notation (2).

    Examples:

    So if you have a 4x5 inch large format sensor with a 150mm lens, and a 8x10 inch large format sensor with a 300mm lens, their viewing angle is the same, but the DoF at same focus and aperture is 4 times more shallow.

    And 8x10 inch (approx 200x250mm) large format sensor with a 600mm f5.6 lens has wide open about the same viewing angle and DoF than a small format (~36x24mm) sensor with a 85mm f1.2 lens. This means the lens for the 8x10 inch large format sensor can be made simpler and less strongly corrected for improved optical performance overall.


    Bokeh on the other hand is the actual look of the blurr. This again has nothing to do with the sensor; its also purely a function of the lens.

    You mention smooth background. However there are different kinds of Bokeh and many lenses dont generate just a smooth background. What Bokeh is beautiful or right is a matter of personal taste.

    For example the Asahi Pentax Takumar 50mm f1.4 has a very "noble" looking Bokeh thats not really smooth but nevertheless looks very pleasant to me.


    (1) This is a strong simplifiction; there are things like hyperfocal focus when everything from the subject to infinity is in focus. The argument assumes we are far from the hyperfocal point.

    (2) A f2 lens is usually considered 2 stops faster than a f4 lens but the diameter only improved by a factor of 2; that means one traditional stop actually translates into one stop more depth of field.
     
  11. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Except a larger sensor does indirectly affect it. Because to the the same field of view with a full frame sensor you have to get closer to the subject.

    Getting closer to the subject gives you thinner DOF.

    That’s why professionals who want to blur out a background almost exclusively use full frame sensors.
     
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  12. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    On that 2nd point - I think a hybrid of what you’re both trying to say works best. I’ve found that using a long focal length and then zooming in or framing in close to the subject gives the more blurred background.

    I’ve found that the 50mm you have to get in really close to achieve that full blur. The 200mm end of a zoom or the 85mm or 105mm primes will be a big improvement.
     
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