How do I create pictures with extremely blurry backgrounds?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SPL Tech1, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. SPL Tech1

    SPL Tech1 TPF Noob!

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    I have been trying to figure how to create pictures that have extremely blurry / out of focus backgrounds so only the immediate foreground is clear, but I am having trouble figuring out how to do so. I know it’s an easy trick but I haven’t figured it out yet. I originally thought all one needs to do is set the aperture extremely low but I was wrong. I tried setting the aperture to my 40D's minimal setting, and although that did blur the background a bit, it did not blur it to the extent I am looking for. Can anyone give me some tips on how to achieve this effect? Below is an example of the effect I am trying to create:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I have a Canon 40D and the stock 28 - 135MM lens.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well first off on the aperture - the lowest aperture setting is infact its largest settings ;)
    A small aperture is, infact, a big f number and vis versa - so to start with you need your aperture at its largest, not smallest.

    Moving on from there you then need to look at the distances involved - look at the seond shot you link to and see how the in focus object is close to the lens and camera, whilst the background (blurred) is much further off - this control allows the use of a smaller depth of field (hence your larger apterture - smaller f number) which gets the whole of the subject in focus, and throws the background into blur.

    Any chance we can have a look at some of your work?
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The effect can be enhanced in photoshop using the radian blur or similar filters, but the best way is to use a lens with a shallow DoF as you've tried. A wide-angle elns has much greater DoF at a given aperture than a telephoto, so a common trick is to use a telephoto lens and stand back from the subject. Separating the subject from the background also helps. For instance in the second image, if the background were say two feet behind the vase, it might be reasonably sharp even at the largest aperture, but if you move the vase so it's 20' in front, then it will be nicley blurred. Hope that helps.

    Also, since these are not your own images, pls change them to links rather than embedded images.

    Tks
     
  4. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    all you have to do is get really close to your subject.. this can even be done in auto mode... i dont know why yor getting such long explanations.. its simple.. be close to the subject
     
  5. maytay20

    maytay20 TPF Noob!

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    Well with that lens it is hard to do. I just recently purchased a 50mm 1.8 and love it! I know there is better ones out there but for only spending $95.00 on both the lens and UV filter It does a awesome job! With my 50mm 1.8 I don't have to be in my subjects face but at 1.8 you have to watch you depth of field so you don't blur out too much.
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Because it's NOT that simple. Since the OP has a single zoom lens in his gadget bag, let's assume he's using the camera on auto and zoomed out to the max wide angle of 28mm. The camera selects an aperture of f32. Even if he's only three feet from the subject, he'll have a DoF of almost eight feet! Conversely, if he's zoomed in to 135mm, backs up say ten feet from his subject, and uses an aperture of f4, DoF falls off to a dramatic 3.5"!
     
  7. Call_me_Tom

    Call_me_Tom TPF Noob!

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  8. joecoulsonphotography

    joecoulsonphotography TPF Noob!

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    Had a hard time even responding with that first pic......I think Overread said it best : "Any chance we can have a look at some of your work?" LOL
     
  9. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    I have to disagree with you when you say its NOT that simple... the following image was taken on my Nikon D50 using a 70-300mm Zoom lens, auto focus.. and come to think of it, it was even on one of the auto modes.. subject is in focus, and background is blurred out.. i did not do any post procssing to this picture..

    [​IMG]
     
  10. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    well, yes it is easy to get the shallow DOF using a 70-300 especially if the light is at all low. However, if you're working at less than 50mm you have to work a lot more to get the shallow DOF.
     
  11. joecoulsonphotography

    joecoulsonphotography TPF Noob!

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    I have to say that is not true, his shirt is though.
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    May I suggest you go back and re-read all of my post, particularily those portions that relate to the focal-lengths of the OPs lens? And, no, I'm sorry the image you posted does not show either of the people in sharp focus, as noted by joe, the near edge of his sleev is however.
     

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