June 10, 2011

Photo Tips With Lizzie - Blurry Background

How do you get your images to have the blurry background look?

I get this question a lot so hopefully this topic will be useful for many of you today.

(Shutter: 1/250, Aperture: f/2.0, ISO: 50)

The blur in the background of an image is the Bokeh.

Bokeh:  "A Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of a photographic image."

-definition found here

The amount of bokeh you have in an image depends on your aperture setting.  
Many of you have heard of the terms aperture or f-stop.  Aperture is measured in "f-stops" or "f-numbers"  
(f/1.4, f/1.6, f/1.8, f/2.0, f/2.2, f/2.5, f/2.8, f/3.2, f/3.5, f/4, f/4.5, f/5, f/5.6, f/6.3, f/7.1, f/8, f/9, f/10, f/11, f/13, f/14, f/16, f/18, f/20, f/22, etc.)  
The lower the f-number, the wider the aperture opens to let more light into your lens 
AND the LESS of your image is in focus.
 (Remember that changing your shutter speed also changes the amount of light that is let into your lens, so when you increase one you decrease the other.. we will talk more about that later.)
I would recommend you read your camera's manual and learn how to shoot in manual mode but if you aren't up for shooting in manual yet, try a semi-manual mode and control your aperture that way.
Put your DSLR camera on the AV (Aperture Priority) mode.
In this setting you can set your aperture at the f-number you want and the camera will automatically adjust the shutter accordingly.

How I adjust the aperture on my Canon 5D.
It's important to know that different lenses have different aperture capabilities.  For example, my 24-105 mm lens will go to an aperture as low as f/4.0 while my 50mm lens will go to an aperture as low as f/1.4 and my 100mm macro lens will go as low as f/2.8. 

(Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: f/2.5, ISO: 50, Shot with a Canon 5D and 50mm lens)

(Shutter: 1/500, Aperture: f/6.3, ISO: 160, Shot with a Canon 5D and 100mm macro lens)

(Shutter: 1/160, Aperture: f/2.0, ISO: 50, Shot with a Canon 5D and 50mm lens)

  (Shutter: 1/125, Aperture: f/4.0, ISO: 320, Shot with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm lens)

I challenge you to take your camera off full automatic mode and try out AV (Aperture Priority).
 See what you can do!

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have and visit me at The Dancing Toad blog.


About Author:

Mandy is a craft blogger who loves to blog and enjoys all things crafty, sewing, and DIY - she feels that if she can do something, you can too, and provides tutorials to help you along the way. She loves being a mom to 4 awesome kiddos and blogs from the Kansas City Area. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Google +

2 Fabulous Comments:

Thank you so much for all the great photo ideas!! I just got a new DSLR camera and each post helps me out tons, because honestly, who reads the WHOLE manual? :)

I have been off of auto for a while now...every once in a while I slip back if I'm in a hurry ;). But I am addicted to my 50 lens...can't imagine what I would do without it!

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