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How To Blur Background in Photos


By @ijyoyo | September 11 2022 | Envision



Are you looking to add to your photos and make them look high quality and professional? Are you trying to learn how to blur the background in your photos? There are a few different ways to do this. The first question you may want to ask is what kind of camera are you using to take these photos? The difference between an iPhone/Android and a professional DSLR can surely have some different applications.

Taking good portraits

One common way to take good portraits in photography is blurring the background of your images. This can highlight the models faces and features. Lower aperature numbers allow you to create depth in your photos. Higher aperatures allow you to get sharp detail among the face. This can be great for closeup shots or beauty shots.



Blurry Flowers photo Why might you want to blur background photos in the first place? Some may say it is good to have a detailed photo however I disagree. With a blurred background you can highlight your subject (yourself, someone else, or an object) and make them stand out from the background. It stands out as professional and high quality. And lastly it attracts viewers attention a lot quicker. Depending on this situation it may be desirable to blur the background.

Let's start with the phone camera and build up how to blur background photos from that with other device. First the iPhone, many people have iPhones and this is important because the camera is one of the focus points of buying a new one! After the iPhone 7 the Apple added the option for portrait mode on the camera app. This feature lets you take portraits with an enhanced blurred background. These can be seen throughout the web and look highly professional if taken correctly. Just make sure that your subject is far enough away from the background to get a desirable look. The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X series and iPhone 11 should all support this ability.

Another tip to get more blurry photos without/ or in conjunction with portrait mode is to zoom in. This will compress your face and create a blurred background. Just remember to back up far enough. This would work for a DSLR or Phone camera, or a standard camera!

You can also use certain Androids. There are stock cameras on some manufacturers that allow you to blur images. There are also apps that you can try and buy in the app store to help you along the way. The same tips to how to blur background photos for the iphone apply here. How to blur backgrounds photos on samsung start with the camera and can be enhanced further. Blurry here Women here

Try different Apps

The Apple App store and the Google Play store both have their share of editing apps to use to blur photos. I would highly suggest snapseed to help you out. It is free. These can help you adjust and modify these photos after they are taken. It may also take some time to get used to setting the correct settings.

A rule of thumb is to first make sure it looks realistic and secondly that is subtle. The first rule I say because too much can sometimes be indeed too much blur. Also make sure to smooth out any contrasts between the blur and the main subject. This is crucial to making the blur subtle.

Close up photo of women These blurs may be under blur, lens blur or a gaussian blur. Snap seed gives you plenty of options on the phone to brush away the areas where you don’t want it to be blurred. But like I said previously it is important that it is subtle and the blur doesn’t distract the entirety of the image. I would avoid blurring images that use a larger depth of field, up close. Trying to create this effect may be okay- however some phone photos might look overly edited.

Editing apps can be super helpful when working on images that need blur photos. Be modest in the amount you are using.

How to blur background photos using a DSLR

City bokeh at night As a photographer this has been my speciality—kinda. Back when I first started I exclusively shot with blurry backgrounds. So I know a thing or two using professional cameras. You want to keep in mind your lens and aperture. It doesn’t matter too much what kind of camera you are using.

You want to buy a lens that has a wide aperture number, or a fast lens. Usually these will be your prime lenses starting from f/1.2 to around f/3.5. It is worth noting that buying faster lenses usually costs more. I would say it is highly worth the investment to get these fast lights. The aperture numbers allow you to receive more light to your camera and give tactical focus on your subject even with a wide aperture number. Currently my favorite bokeh lens is the Sigma 85mm 1.4, however the Nifty Fifty remains a leader because it’s versatile. Let's talk about it.

Man looking in distance The nifty fifty is a great lens for creating blurry background photos. Usually the standard f-stop number is f/1.8. These are usually under $300 and give some great results no matter the camera. The main aspect to getting blurry background photos is the lens in this case.

Person wearing sun glasses. How does this work? A wider aperture ( Smaller aperture, say f/1.4) will create a shallower Depth of Field (DOF). The sharpest part of the image will often be in the middle and you can adjust your focal points to your subject. This can be done automatically through select points. Another tip is switching manually and focusing on your subject at a wide aperture.

Depth of Field is like magnification for your image. When you are using a wider aperture a lower f-stop number you are getting a narrower depth of field. This allows the background of the image to become blurry. And the opposite is true if you are using a narrow aperture (small hole, low light) with a higher f-stop number you have a larger depth of field.

Aperature shade You are not limited to primes and wide apertures. You can take some amazing portraits by compressing the face and zooming in to create blur at around f/5.6 or higher. A common focal length for this may be around 135mm to 200mm. The 135mm lens is perfect for photographs.

If you are unsure how to adjust the settings correctly try and learn the sunny 16 rule and also utilize Aperture priority mode! Aperture priority will adjust for the aperture, set it to 1.8 and then the camera will find the correct ISO and Shutter speed for your image. The sunny 16 rule briefly is a photography tool for shooting in daylight, you would adjust for a wide open aperture.

Another part of how to blur background photos includes the type of artistic style you are trying to achieve. Some lens are smoother then others so you want to do your research. Look at photo samples of the lenses blur and make note of the amount of aperture blades. The more blades, the likely the blur will be smoother. Some lens of the same focal length by different manufacturers create smoother, creamier photos. Try looking up the main lens and then alternatives. The alternatives may have completely different bokeh.

Some additional editing tips

There are also web based platforms if you have a laptop. One app I’ve used in the past to blur background photos includes befunky. This platform is free so it may lack some features but you can try and edit your photos and blur them.

Blurry background photo You can also use professional editing programs. How to blur background photos in Lightroom. Lightroom is a professional photo editing program and surely has the option to help you blur photographs. Although I would highly recommend a lens.

Man with blurry background In Lightroom you are given a brush that you can use to paint where you want the blur and where you do want to put the blur. This is an essential part to put in your tool kit of things to use.

Overall there are many different ways on how to blur background photos. You can use your phone camera such as on your iPhone and Android and get great results. You can also go into editing applications. Hopefully you find one way or another to blur your photos to enhance your photos!

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