What settings give you the blured background

crowl31

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I'm trying to practice shooting where the person is in focus but the background is blured.

What should the correct settings be to obtain this?

I have an xti, kit lens and a new 50mm lens.

Thanks
 

Big Mike

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That effect is a result of a shallow Depth of Field (DOF). To get a shallow DOF, you can a) use a wider aperture and b) use a longer lens.

So with your gear, the 50mm F1.8 will be much better for this because it's maximum aperture is much larger (F1.8) than the kit lens's max aperture of F3.5-5.6.

So first thing to do, would be to put the camera into Av mode (aperture priority) and set an aperture of F1.8. In this mode, the camera will give you a shutter speed for the aperture that you have chosen. Now go out and try it. You may even find that the DOF is too shallow...and the whole person might not be in focus. If this is the case, stop down the aperture a few steps, maybe to F2.0 or F2.8 for example.

Also, just how out of focus the background is, will depend on how close the camera is to the subject and how far away the background is. For example, if you put a person right under a tree and stand back 30 feet...both the person and the tree will be in focus. But if the person is 25 feet away from the tree and you are still 30 feet from the tree (5 feet from the subject)...then the tree will be out of focus when you use a large aperture.

One thing to watch out for, is that you are focused on the right thing. Sometimes the camera may want to focus on the background, which would leave the subject out of focus. For this reason, I prefer to use only the centre focus point. I focus on a person's eyes with the center point, lock the focus, compose the shot how I want, then shoot.
 
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crowl31

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Thanks BM, great detail in your adivce. Much appreciated.:thumbup:
 

CWA_JGEISINGER

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Big mike rocks.
always has good detailed answers!!!
 

Teresa

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so is this technique only able to be used with an SLR camera? i ask because i have a digital camera sony cybershot DSC-H5 and it only goes down to f/2.8 and no matter how far away things are and i shoot, everything is all in focus.... :(
 

Big Mike

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so is this technique only able to be used with an SLR camera? i ask because i have a digital camera sony cybershot DSC-H5 and it only goes down to f/2.8 and no matter how far away things are and i shoot, everything is all in focus....
You can use this technique with any camera...it's just the physics of photography. However, cameras like yours have very small image sensors and rather short lenses, in comparison to SLR type cameras. This makes it much harder to get a shallow DOF.

You can still use the same techniques. Use a small aperture, zoom the lens out to the max and get as close to your subject as you can. Also have your subject far away from what you want to be out of focus.
 

sinnedone

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If your just learning (like me :) ) you could just set it to portrait in the full auto side and it actually does a nice job of making this effect.

My very first attempt was like this taking a picture of my son at about 3 feet from the camera and everything behind him was blurred and only his face was in focus.

The camera I own is older than yours, (digital rebel 300d) but it does everything Ive always wanted point and shoot cameras to do and more.


Oh I also took a picture of my kids while playing in the yard on the landscape full auto mode and that came it really nice as well. Evrything was in focus and produced a nice affect as well.


I havent practiced too much with mine but Ive been checking what the camera automaticly sets appeture, shutter speed' and iso speeds and just experimentin in changing them in the manual modes.
 

Big Mike

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The D Rebel (300D) is not a point & shoot and has a mice big sensor, so it's much easier to get this effect than on a 'digi-cam).
 

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if i choose a smaller apperature and i zoom to the max then everything will be blurry. i will see right up my child's or subjects nose...i dont want to do that...
 

SPANIARD.

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if i choose a smaller apperature and i zoom to the max then everything will be blurry. i will see right up my child's or subjects nose...i dont want to do that...

Don't zoom all the way in, zoom in more than you usually would though, then the background will begin to become "blurry" and you'll get the effect your looking for.
 

Big Mike

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if i choose a smaller aperture and i zoom to the max then everything will be blurry. i will see right up my child's or subjects nose...i dont want to do that...
What I meant was to zoom lens lens out, and then move yourself to where your subject fits into the frame how you would like them to. If that means that you have to back up another 10 or 20 feet...then that's what you would do.

Of course, you don't have to zoom all the way. The point is that two main things affect the DOF. #1 is the aperture, a larger aperture (smaller F number) will give you a shallower DOF. #2 is the focal length of the lens, a longer lens will give you a shallower DOF.
 

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