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How to blur the Reflex background

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How to blur the Reflex background: After taking a look at my tips on choosing a DSLR, you’ve finally bought a new camera and are now dying to take some beautiful artistic photos? How about creating those images with effect bokeh in which the background is completely out of focus with respect to the subject, which instead is crystal clear? With a little practice, you can do it even if you’re not a professional photographer.

If you want, I can help you by explaining how to blur the reflex background thanks to some tricks that allow you to get shots of sure impact without studying long and boring photography manuals. Of course, I don’t guarantee that you will get a piece of art on the first try, but with a little practice you should be able to get images worthy of your expectations. My advice, in fact, is to do a lot of practice: don’t be afraid to turn your home into a kind of photographic set and practice until you can refine and master the technique to obtain noteworthy blurry backgrounds.

Therefore, try to photograph a small object from various distances and analyze all the shots obtained to find out which is the most effective technique for creating a background with a bokeh effect. Above all, try to follow the “tips” I am about to give you and you will see that you too will be able to get photos with a blurred background to share on social networks or to print. All I have to do is wish you good reading and, above all, have fun with your Reflex!

Preliminary information

Before we delve into the heart of this guide and see how to blur the background with the ReflexI want to provide you with some preliminary information which will allow you to have greater awareness of how to master your camera when, in a moment, I will show you how to set the various shooting parameters. To get a well-blurred background, in fact, you need to pay attention to the following three parameters.

  • Distances – if you want to take photos with a more pronounced bokeh effect, you have to be as close as possible to the subject of the photo (the one that should stand out in the foreground). At the same time, the distance between the subject and the background of the photo should be as large as possible. In cases where this is not possible, try to change the angle (for example by crouching or standing sideways) and you will see that you will be able to blur even the less distant backgrounds.
  • Opening the diaphragm – in addition to the distances to the subject and background, another fundamental element for the correct blur of a photo (the most important of all) is the use of aperture values ​​to be f/ 4 down. Remember, however, that the lower the value, the shorter the depth of field (i.e. the distance in front of and behind the subject in focus) and the greater the part of the photo that will be blurry. For example, with the same distance between the foreground subject, the background and the lens, a photo taken with aperture a f/2.8, will have a sharper background than a photo taken at f / 1.4, but blurrier than a photo taken with an aperture at f/ 4.
  • Focal length – the focal length is the distance between the optical center of the lens and the sensor, and therefore constitutes the measure of the focusing power of a lens. To get beautiful bokeh effect photos, you need to use a focal length of at least 70 mm but it is advisable to reach the 200-300 mm (unless the subject of the photo is located a few tens of centimeters from the lens, in that case a shorter focal length can also be used).

The values ​​I have recommended are indicative, even if in the vast majority of cases they allow you to get a blurred background at the first shot.

Blurring the background with the SLR

Now that you understand what are the values ​​that affect obtaining a good bokeh effect, you can take action and take some photos to practice and implement the basics that I gave you in previous paragraph.

Before proceeding, however, I want to tell you that in the next lines I will refer to the buttons and options of the Canon EOS 1300D (on which thelens kita 18-55 mm of the Canon) which, at the time of writing, is the Reflex model in my possession. The indications I will give you, however, are valid in principle for all Reflex cameras: they can simply change the names of the buttons and options, depending on the brand and model of camera in your possession. If you find it difficult to follow the steps below, therefore, consult the instruction manual of your Reflex, so as to be able to put into practice the instructions I am about to give you.

The first thing you need to do to take pictures with the background out of focus is, of course, turn on the Reflex. To do this you have to move up ON the lever of the switch located on the machine body. After that, make sure the manual shooting mode (if not, rotate the selection dial placed on the machine body, making sure that the M. appears alongside the dash symbol).

After this first operation, press the button Av / + – present on the machine and, after making sure that the box is highlighted on the display Fx.x (that relating to the value ofaperture opening), rest your index finger on the main bezel (the toothed “wheel” that should be next to the shutter button) and move it to the leftso as to use themaximum aperture of the diaphragm (given the goal in my possession, the maximum opening I can reach is f/3.5).

At this point, get as close as possible to the subject you want to photograph (in my case a succulent plant) and, if possible, try to place it as far as possible from the background.

At this point you are ready to take the shot: look inside theviewfinder eyepiecetry to compose the image (perhaps following the rule of thirds, so as to give greater prominence to the subject you want to capture), press the shutter button to focus on the foreground subject (in my case, a red dot inside the viewfinder that helps me to “aim” precisely at the subject to focus) and, once you are satisfied with the composition, keep pressing the shutter button.

If you have scrupulously followed the “tips” I gave you in the previous lines, you should have obtained a result similar to what you see in the following photo.

If you are not satisfied with your first shot, don’t give up: keep trying and trying again, until you get a “perfect” blur.

Obviously, to obtain optimal results, it is advisable to use bright lenses (the ideal would be to have fixed optics with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 or, even better, f/1.4). If you want to buy a new lens, I suggest you take a look at the buying guide that you find on my blog, to avoid making a mistake in the purchase. However, I recommend that you practice with the kit lens that you should already own, since for an amateur photographer like you it is perfect to start getting used to the Reflex.

Blur the background of photos in post-production

If despite all your efforts you fail to blur background Reflex in the way you want, you can always resort to the “magic” of photo editing and pass your photos taken with the camera in post-production. I know, it’s not a very correct move, but in some cases it helps to reorganize ideas, better understand what you want to achieve and refine the results of the following shots.

If you are not very familiar with photo editing, I suggest you read my guides on how to blur the background with Photoshop and GIMP, with which I have shown you step by step how to transform a photo into an artistic shot with the background blurred using these two very famous photo-editing software. It is a very simple operation and allows a lot of freedom in adjusting the type of blur you want to achieve.

If you want, you can also proceed from your smartphone or tablet, using apps to blur the background, including Snapseed (Android/iOS), Photoshop Express (Android/iOS/Windows), AfterFocus (Android/iOS) And Pixlr (Android/iOS), just to name a few. Although they are less powerful than Photoshop, GIMP and other photo editing software designed for desktop use, I invite you to consider them, since they can always come in handy.

Do not forget, then, that many latest generation smartphones are equipped with sets of cameras and have artificial intelligence technologies that allow you to take shots with a blurred background in a very simple way.