Blurring certain parts of a photo when shooting can provide the image an aesthetic quality that readily puts focus on the shot’s main subject. Although there are times that your subject is set clearly on the shot’s background with the foreground kept blurred, the more commonly used artistic composition showcases the subject looking sharp on the shot’s foreground, while its background is intentionally out of focus.
You can actually blur your photo’s background using an image-editing program like Photoshop. However, unless you are a professional photographer, graphic artist, or a serious hobbyist who is technically and artistically skilled in photography, it is more likely that editing your photo to have a blurred background can look fake or amateurish. Generally, doing this during the actual shoot is not only faster and more practical, it also instantly provides the image an accurate shot composition.
Distance of Foreground and Background Elements
You must establish which parts of the image should look blurred when composing your shot before clicking the camera’s shoot button. After using the focus button or ring to make the main subject near the camera clear, it is expected that the shot’s background would look significantly softer. The greater the distance of your foreground to your background, the more blurred your background can be. If you focus on a close-up shot of a person behind a mountain backdrop, the background gets more blurred when you set your subject farther from it. If you shoot the same subject with the same camera settings on a nearby wall, this nearer background provides less blur than the farther mountain background.
The camera lens you use when shooting always has a significant effect on the overall look of your photo. The angle of view of the image largely depends on the type of lens attached to the camera. The longer the lens, the more blurred your background can be. This idea applies not only to a prime lens (a detachable lens with a fixed focal length and is primarily available for use in DSLR cameras), but also to a zoom lens where the image’s background can look more out of focus when zooming in.
The camera’s aperture is the hole or opening where the light utilized to create the image passes through from the lens to the camera. Represented in numerical form, the larger the aperture number, the bigger the opening is. The shutter covers this hole when you are not clicking the camera’s shoot button. The shutter opens and creates that familiar click sound when you snap a photo. And so, the aperture serves as a doorway, while the shutter serves as the door that can open and close when taking a photo.
The manual function to select your own aperture setting is readily available in professional cameras. Most of the latest consumer camera models, especially the top-of-the-line ones, already have options for changing their aperture settings as well. If this is available in your camera, use a larger aperture so that the shorter depth of field you get from it results to a more blurred background. The larger your camera’s opening, the less depth of field and the more blurred your background can be.