Blurring backgrounds

A quick tip, today, for new or inexperienced photographers. But one that some experienced photographers forget sometimes, too.

In a good photo, you draw attention to your subject. You can do that by framing, by using converging lines, by making the subject large, by surrounding it by negative space… or by blurring the background.

If like me you like blurry backgrounds, how do you achieve them? Using a camera with the largest possible sensor size, use any of these methods:

  1. Use aperture mode (A/Av) and select a large aperture (i.e. a small F-number, like 2.8). This is why lenses with those low F-numbers are so good, and so desirable, and worth paying for.
  2. Use a longer lens (zoom in).
  3. Get closer.

Or do several of these at a time, like in this snap I took during a tweet-up the other day:

iPad in hand, by Michael Willems

iPad in hand, by Michael Willems

The blurry background shows just enough to make the viewer work, to understand what is happening; but it also accentuates the iPad very nicely.

I used the Panasonic GF1 with its 20mm f/1.7 prime lens set to f/1.7 (yes, a very low F-number).

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