How to get Out of Focus Backgrounds
When you are capturing a photo, you may want the subject to stand out from the rest of the surroundings. In some situations you want to remove the cluttered background. In such a situation you will have to go for an out of focus background or otherwise called as “Background blur”. There are many ways by which you can implement this.Let us have a look at some of these techniques.
1. Go for the Widest possible Aperture
If you are using an SLR camera then you can choose a lens with the widest possible aperture from your kit. F-numbers below f4.0 can be considered as wide aperture opening. If you don’t have such a lens no need to worry. Set the lowest possible f-number value available in your lens. For point and shoot cameras, you won’t get the luxury of choosing the aperture values. There we will have to use some other techniques, which will be discussed later.
Exposure: 1/80 s @ f4.0, ISO 100
In the above picture, a wide aperture of f4.0 made it possible to get an out-of-focus background in the image.
In order to understand the difference in choosing a wider aperture, after taking the photo of the subject with a wide aperture, take another photo of the same subject with a narrow aperture, say f22. Now, have a look at both the images. One, which is shot with a wider aperture, will be more pleasing than the other.
2. Get Closer to the subject
Your camera system has got a minimum focusing distance. Whether you have an SLR camera or a point-and-shoot camera, get closer to the subject. This will help you in getting out of focus background.
3. Increase Distance between Subject & Background
Increasing the distance between the subject and the background is another option. This is possible in certain situations, like in the case of portrait photography. Here, you can tell the person, whose portraiture is to be taken, to keep some distance from the background. If you are into sports photography or wildlife photography, you won’t get this privilege.
Exposure: 1/320 s @ f4.0, ISO 200
In the above picture, the subject of interest is the bird. Since the distance between the subject and the background is very less we could not get the desired background blur.
4. Use Telephoto Lenses
Exposure: 0.6 s @ f9.0, ISO 400
If you are using a DSLR camera then you can use your telephoto lens, if you have one in your kit. If you don’t have one, use the largest possible focal length available in your lens system. Increasing the focal length effectively reduces the depth of field as a result of which we can get a good out-of-focus background in our picture. Here, the fact is that for longer focal lengths, the subject takes up the majority of the space in the frame.
5. Macro mode or Maximum zoom for Compact camera
If you are having a compact point and shoot camera then you won’t have the luxury of adjusting the aperture values and selecting the focal length. Here, you can go for the maximum optical zoom possible in your camera. You can select the macro mode in your camera.