How to Blur the Background in Your Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide

Nothing beats the precise, professional, and crisp appearance of a photo with a centered subject and blurred background. Our eyes immediately associate a blurred background with a professional, someone who really knew what they were doing with their camera. That’s why we want to make it easy for you in this guide today and provide the step-by-step break down of how you can replicate this time-old photography tactic in your pictures.

The good news is: getting a blurred background is actually quite simple to do! Considering you barely have enough time in the day as it is, raising kids and adoring those fleeting moments, blurring the background in your family pictures won’t add any stress to your schedule. All it takes is a little practice.

So, without further ado, here’s how to capture the best kids and baby pictures:

Step 1: Set Camera to Aperture Priority Mode

Why? This will allow you to set the aperture manually, while your camera takes care of everything else, like the shutter speed and ISO. To start, turn the dial on the top of your camera to AV or A, depending upon the kind of camera you have.

Step 2: Pick an Aperture Value

Aperture is measured in F stops, which can vary based on the model of camera and type of lens. If you are using the kit lens that came with the camera, you might have a low value of F3.6. In other lenses, it may be F1.8 or even F1.4. For the F3.6, that is the one you will choose. If your lens can go as low as F1.8, stop it at F2.8 (it makes it easier for you to focus on your subject). As you can guess: the smaller the number you use, the more blurred the background will be. You can have fun playing around with different values to see how they compare in the finished photography. 

Step 3: Place Your Subject Properly

You want to make sure your subject is separated from the background with a decent amount of space. The farther the space, the more dramatic the blur will be. If your subject is part of the background, the blur will not be that drastic.

Step 4: Stand Back

There are still other things you can do to really get that blur noticeable. Stand further back and zoom in on your subject, or use a longer length lens. If you don’t have a zoom lens, choose a lens that has a long focal length. This length is the number before the MM on the lens, so 85mm is a longer length than 50mm.

Step 5: Focus and Snap

Now it’s time to put it all into practice! Press your shutter down halfway to focus on the subject, which is now comfortably set apart from the background. Once focused, snap. Play around with different distances and arrangements until you get the photo you are looking for (yes, it may be hard with your kids fidgeting – but, they will pull through for you).

And that’s it! Blurring the background isn’t as tedious as it seems. Try it out and take the photos of a lifetime starting today.

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