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How to get Blurry Backgrounds in your Photos

From my "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" Series of Photography Tips

Early on in my adventures into photography, I was obsessed with getting that creamy blurry background in all of my portraits!  My favorite lens for years was the Nikon 85mm 1.4 and most of the time I shot it wide open at 1.4 - gorgeous!  2017 I started using my Sigma Art 50mm 1.4 most of the time because I found it had less chromatic aberration (which shows up more with backlighting which I shoot most of the time :)) and was quicker to focus on my fast moving subjects (families and kids!)  I'm currently shooting with Nikon D810's and love them 🙂

It's not all about the lens though, although that totally helps!  For a more in depth look at the different parts that work together to achieve those creamy dreamy backgrounds and some gorgeous examples, read through Amy and Jordan's tips on how to achieve blurry backgrounds in your photos.  They're an amazing resource for photographers and so fun to learn from!  These are their main points:

1. Get Closer to Your Subject

The closer you are to your subject, the blurrier the background will be. The farther away you are from your subject, the sharper/more in focus the background will be.

2. Move Your Subject Farther from the Background

The farther away your subjects are from the background, the blurrier the background will be. The closer the subjects are to their background, the sharper the background will be.

Prime Lenses are going to help you achieve that gorgeous blurry background as well (photographers call it bokeh) and Katelyn James has a blog post about some of the reasons she loves prime lenses.

I typically shoot single subjects at 1.4 or 1.8 with the focus point over the nearest eye.  Families, I'll shoot at 2 or 3, but I'm usually pretty far back and the family members are usually pretty close together.

Questions, comments, want someone to happy dance with?  Shoot me a message!  I'd love to be a part of your photographic journey 🙂

Cheering you on!

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