How to Blur Background

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by NikhilBose, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. NikhilBose
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    NikhilBose New Member

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    Hi All,

    I am new to photography and yesterday I am trying to blur the background. I reduced the f/stop to the lowest value (High Aperture), and I got close to the subject.
    ISO was auto, even I tried setting the ISO to all values. I bought Canon 600D and having Sigma 18-220mm lens.

    Even trying all this I am not able to make the background blur. Both the subject, foreground, background are normal.

    Can anyone guide me, what else is missing, I am new to photography so please bear with me if this all is very basic.

    Thanks,
    Nikhil
  2. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    What focal length and how far away was you background?
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  3. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    post some shots with the exif data intact!
  4. Heitz
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    Heitz New Member

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    This 'lowest' value for aperture...what was it exactly?
  5. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    HIGH as in HIGH number? You want the lowest aperture number you can use.
  6. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    ^This.... as in F2.8 or F5.6... NOT F16 or F22
  7. pic_chick
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    pic_chick New Member

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    really best to post a photo when you ask these questions but I bet your subject was to close to the background
  8. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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  9. NikhilBose
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    NikhilBose New Member

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    I used f 3.5 and the background was around 6ft away. Actually I thought I am doing some basic mistake, so I am not prepared with the pictures.
    Maybe next time I will post the pictures as well.

    Thanks,
    Nikhil
  10. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    You would have to be closer than 6 feet to the subject.
  11. bratkinson
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    bratkinson Well-Known Member

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    In most cases, the "best" background blur, aka bokeh, is achieved at wider f-stops than the widest f3.5 of your Sigma lens. Even at f2.8, background blur is pretty good, but not "wow" in my estimation. My favorite "wow" lens is the Canon EF 135 f2.0L, wide open. Even from 50-60' away with my 60D, the subject "pops" out and everything else blurred in the background.
  12. TheFantasticG
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    TheFantasticG Well-Known Member

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  13. jwbryson1
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    jwbryson1 New Member

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    f/16 :mrgreen:
  14. Kolander
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    Kolander New Member

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    Again: what focal length did you use? :meh:

    With f:3'5 and 18 mm it is possible to get not a bit of blur, being the background only 6 feet away.
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  15. Dao
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    Dao Well-Known Member

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    - Aperture, wider the better. (lower f-number)
    - Focal length, longer the better.
    - Subject to camera distance. Shorter the better.
    - Subject to background distance. Longer the better.
  16. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Actually, foreground and background blur is aka depth-of-field. The word bokeh was derived from a Japanese word 'boke' by Photo Techniques magazine editor Mike Johnston in 1997. Japanese use of the word 'boke' is in the sense of a mental haze or senility, or just as a haze, or blur.

    Bokeh is not adjustable. The only way to get better, or worse, bokeh is to use a different make/model lens. Lens design and construction determine the 'quality' of the bokeh any lens can produce. More specifically, the aesthetic quality of blurred image elements is a function of the Circle of Confusion a lens produces.

    Consumer grade lenses generally produce less pleasing bokeh than do professional grade lenses. Pro grade lenses usually have superior optics that have minimal optical aberrations, more aperture blades, and the aperture blades have rounded profiles and rounded edges, when compared to consumer grade lenses.
  17. TheLost
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    TheLost Well-Known Member

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    It has been hinted at by other people... but nobody has come out and said it... so here is what you need to do:

    Zoom out to your max zoom (220mm).. Set your camera aperture to f/5.6.. get as close to your subject as possible... Take the picture.. *Boom*.. blown out background.

    Now read some of the links posted by other people to understand why :)
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  18. scorpion_tyr
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    scorpion_tyr New Member

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    If you were at f/3.5 you were probably at 18mm focal length. That wide angle will make a very deep depth of field. Turning down the aperture is only one of many ways to get a shallow DOF. If the 18-200mm is the only lens you have the easiest thing to do would be to set the camera in Av, turn it to 3.5, and then zoom all the way in so you're at 200mm. Now get as close to your subject as possible. For a portrait let her face take up the full frame. You might notice your aperture reads 5.6, don't worry that's because the maximum aperture at that focal length for that lens is f/5.6. That should blur your background out quite a bit. Opening your aperture up usually only helps when you're at 35-50mm of focal length or more.
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  19. enzodm
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    enzodm Well-Known Member

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  20. NikhilBose
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    NikhilBose New Member

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    Yes you are correct I used 18mm. And I was very close to the subject.

    It seems like blurring background is not an easy task. I need to study a lot. :wink:
    I will try again changing with different focal length and f/stop value and see if I get the desired effect.

    Thanks,
    Nikhil

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