Question: How to Bring on the Blur

Hi Ben! I am not, nor will ever pretend to be, on par with the kind of photography you are capable of but I try. :-) That being said, is there a general setting on most SLR cameras where you can get the focus on your main subject while essentially blurring the rest of the background? A good example of what I mean is the rodeo clown photo you posted… Unfortunately my fancy camera’s skills are often beyond MY basic capabilities. Thanks for any input!

Answer: Great question!  I’ll be discussing this in detail here sometime soon.  Basically a blurry background is the result of a low (wide) aperture.  This is the size of the hole that lets in the light, and the larger this hole is, the more blur.  Additionally, this blur can be a result of using a “longer” lens.  So if you zoom in as far as your lens allows and stand back from your subject, it will knock the background out of focus more than shooting wide-angle and close.

For now, your camera probably has a “portrait” mode (picture of a lady in a hat perhaps?).  This mode tells the camera that you’re taking a picture of a person and it shoots with some settings that should provide more blur than the basic auto.  Combined with zooming in, you should start to see better results.


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