How to increase background blur?


vagus

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Sep 4, 2006
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#1
I'm using my Sony NEX5N w Tamron 60mm via alpha adaptor. I'm pretty happy with the result for portrait purpose mostly.
But at f2, are there any other techniques to achieve even more background blur other than the obvious swap to a faster lense?
Reason I ask is because at the same f2 aperture, some of my pictures' background seem to have more blur than others... So wondering if other settings can affect this aspect of photography?
Thks!
 

JasonB

Deregistered
Jun 2, 2009
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#2
I'm using my Sony NEX5N w Tamron 60mm via alpha adaptor. I'm pretty happy with the result for portrait purpose mostly.
But at f2, are there any other techniques to achieve even more background blur other than the obvious swap to a faster lense?
Reason I ask is because at the same f2 aperture, some of my pictures' background seem to have more blur than others... So wondering if other settings can affect this aspect of photography?
Thks!
Get subject to stand further from the background.

Or get yourself to stand closer to the subject.

Very basic principles of photography.
 

SkyStrike

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Nov 29, 2010
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#3
Get subject to stand further from the background.

Or get yourself to stand closer to the subject.

Very basic principles of photography.
To add on: or a combination of the both.. Subject far far from background and stand near near the subject..
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#5
Get subject to stand further from the background.

Or get yourself to stand closer to the subject.

Very basic principles of photography.
Yup, exactly right. And also discussed in the "Newbie to photography" guides we have here. ;)
 

sin77

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Nov 28, 2004
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#6
Yah... I was also thinking this should go to Newie section.
 

Octarine

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Pasir Ris
#7
No fast lens will blur the background 1m behind the subject if the subject is 10m away. But every kit lens can blur the background 10m behind a subject that is 1m away from the camera.
 

vagus

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Sep 4, 2006
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#8
JasonB said:
Get subject to stand further from the background.

Or get yourself to stand closer to the subject.

Very basic principles of photography.
Thanks for the reply, this part I understand, just that there r situations where positioning of the subject with relation to background cannot be adjusted due to space constraint or simply an impromptu shot. Also if i go too close to the subject using a prime lens, i lose the amount of background that I had wanted to tell the story...
 

vagus

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Sep 4, 2006
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#9
Octarine said:
No fast lens will blur the background 1m behind the subject if the subject is 10m away. But every kit lens can blur the background 10m behind a subject that is 1m away from the camera.
I think you understand my dilemma, are there other ways to "optimize" the shot given that the distence are limited? Eg, control of lighting, exposure, etc
I was thinking maybe some fine combination of adjustments may improve it slightly?
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
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#10
Thanks for the reply, this part I understand, just that there r situations where positioning of the subject with relation to background cannot be adjusted due to space constraint or simply an impromptu shot. Also if i go too close to the subject using a prime lens, i lose the amount of background that I had wanted to tell the story...
Then just stop down the lens to f/2.8 or f/4.

But I thought you are asking to increase blur in the first place? Check your first post.
 

vagus

New Member
Sep 4, 2006
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#11
sjackal said:
Then just stop down the lens to f/2.8 or f/4.

But I thought you are asking to increase blur in the first place? Check your first post.
Sorry if I did not express myself correctly, when i say "lose background", I don't mean it gets too blur... I meant the expanse of background that is captured within the frame of the shot.

Ie. I don't want to get too close that i only capture the subject but left with only a sliver of background that is nicely blurred out... That way I might as well take a passport type photo....
 

JasonB

Deregistered
Jun 2, 2009
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#12
Thanks for the reply, this part I understand, just that there r situations where positioning of the subject with relation to background cannot be adjusted due to space constraint or simply an impromptu shot. Also if i go too close to the subject using a prime lens, i lose the amount of background that I had wanted to tell the story...
Your welcomed. Its about the focal length, if you use a longer lens, then the perspective you have will be less background. If you use a wider lens, then you can include more background.

Then just stop down the lens to f/2.8 or f/4.

But I thought you are asking to increase blur in the first place? Check your first post.
I think he is asking about perspective now instead of DOF, though he initially did ask about DOF.

Sorry if I did not express myself correctly, when i say "lose background", I don't mean it gets too blur... I meant the expanse of background that is captured within the frame of the shot.

Ie. I don't want to get too close that i only capture the subject but left with only a sliver of background that is nicely blurred out... That way I might as well take a passport type photo....
Then simply; don't stand too close.

Or use a wider angle lens so that you get more environment in. If you dont want to change lens, then stand back a bit more. If no space to stand back, then: too bad. Somethings just cannot be.

Or you can bring a tripod with L plate, take multiple pictures and stitch into panoramas.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#14
I think you understand my dilemma, are there other ways to "optimize" the shot given that the distence are limited? Eg, control of lighting, exposure, etc
I was thinking maybe some fine combination of adjustments may improve it slightly?
Yes, there are other ways, but many are not related to camera settings. Read up about the basics of composition with regards to subject isolation. Blurring the background is only one method, others are positioning of the subject in the frame, focal length and framing, colours and patterns (be careful what's in the background), leading lines and many others. Don't overdo it with f/2 and other small numbers, some guys here get carried away with thin DoF, resulting rather in technical case studies than a pleasing picture (have a look at some food pictures where only a small part of the dish is in focus).
Camera settings play a part when setting the exposure, notably here the metering method and the overall light situation in the frame. When using flash, read up about blending ambient light with flash light. Bright areas catch attention.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#15
I think you understand my dilemma, are there other ways to "optimize" the shot given that the distence are limited? Eg, control of lighting, exposure, etc
I was thinking maybe some fine combination of adjustments may improve it slightly?
You cannot bend the laws of physics...
 

GRbenji

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May 24, 2010
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#16
Can make use of a tilt-shift lens too.
 

Sep 17, 2008
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#17
You cannot bend the laws of physics...
there is... one technique though that can do that i think.

not exactly bend the laws, but its a combination of all of the above.

Brenizer Method


my suggestion is to not shoot at full res per shot though. keep it small. stack many small shots together. you shld get your blur background.
 

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daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#18
there is... one technique though that can do that i think.

not exactly bend the laws, but its a combination of all of the above.

Brenizer Method


my suggestion is to not shoot at full res per shot though. keep it small. stack many small shots together. you shld get your blur background.
That is not bending laws of physics la. That is a get around. But it requires the subjects to stand still for a while. And it wouldn't work in some situations, for example, when shooting a portrait in a busy street with many people moving around.

Tilt shift is another. But buying a tilt shift lens is not that cheap. TS can even consider moving to FF cam body first.
 

Last edited:
Sep 17, 2008
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#19
That is not bending laws of physics la. That is a get around. But it requires the subjects to stand still for a while. And it wouldn't work in some situations, for example, when shooting a portrait in a busy street with many people moving around.

Tilt shift is another. But buying a tilt shift lens is not that cheap. TS can even consider moving to FF cam body first.
thats why say its not exactly bending the laws of physics haha... its just a work around! solves his problem as far as i am concerned for now hahaha
 

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