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6 tips to blur the background in portraits

Getting a photograph with a blurred background can make the subject stand out more, as well as make the photograph look more professional. Many professional portrait shots have blurry backgrounds.
By using the right camera tools and practice, you too can achieve great professional looking photographs with blurry backgrounds. Faces for portrait shots as well as full body shots work great with blurred backgrounds. Based on what you have to work with, there are a variety of ways to blur the background in portraits.
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1. Aperture
You don't necessarily need a lens with a large aperture to achieve a blurred background. You do want to use a wide aperture though. Most cameras have an aperture option, or you can do this manually.
2. Focal Length
A range of apertures, from f2.8 to f5.6 and beyond can be used with some practice. You can adjust the lens to get the right focal length.
3. Subject and Background Distance
The distance between the subject and background also plays a role in the blur factor. You will want to test this out by taking photographs of the subject at varying distances from the background.
You can use different lenses, counting on how close or far away you want your subject to be. This can also affect the blur in your picture's background.
4. Zoom
Using the zoom on your camera can also help blur the background. You can zoom in or out with the lens, if you want a close up of your subject's face or a full body shot, with a blurry background.
5. Macro Settings
You can also use the macro settings on your digital camera to get a blurry background in your portrait pictures. This also works great if you are working with a younger subject.
You can achieve a blurry background this way by selecting your camera's macro mode and turning the flash off. Get close to your subject, then take your photo.
6. Graphics
If you are short on time, you may end up taking photographs with a nonblurry background. You can always clean up the photograph using a computer program.
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There are several ways to do this, counting on what type of photo editor you have. Unsharp mask can blur details around a subject, gaussian blur makes the background soft and blurry and simulated bokeh effect can blur highlights in a dark background. Experiment and enjoy creating beautiful portraits!
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