6.06.2014

Photo Tip Friday - Using Zoom on Your Camera to Blur the Background

by Mary Denman

Welcome back to Photo Tip Friday!


Mary Denman Photography
Over the past couple of weeks, we talked about the focal point of a picture and what depth of field is. 
Click here for last week's post.

Ellen asked a great question last week while trying to find the Aperture setting (which controls depth of field) on her point and shoot camera, as opposed to a DSLR camera - Digital Single Lens Reflex. After I got the model of her camera, I realized the information was so buried in the instruction manual that I decided to teach the work around for her and everyone else. 

This technique will work for cell phones, point and shoot, and DSLR cameras. 


So, how do you use the zoom feature on your camera to blur the background of your subject instead of controlling the Aperture?

Let's get started. 

Here's the first example. As you can see, this picture was taken at 17 mm. The human eye sees things at approximately 35 mm on most cameras. What would a 300mm lens mean? That's the zoom part. Have you ever seen a wildlife shot that looked like the photographer was right next to the bear in the river catching salmon? That's when you need the zoom power of 300 mm or more. He wasn't in danger. He was staying a safe distance away. But that's how he does it! 

Back to the picture. You can see the rose in the middle of the frame. I was standing in one spot for this picture to let you see how much the 17 mm lens would take in. This is a so-so picture. 

But look what happened when I stayed in the exact same spot but "zoomed" to 55 mm. The same grass that was fairly clear in the 17 mm shot is now a beautiful, soft, green, blurred background. 

We went from a so-so shot to a much better one!


Cell phone picture
This is such an easy technique to try! 

BIG TIP: By using the zoom feature on your camera, you can learn how to blur the background.

CELL PHONE USERS: When you turn your camera on, you have it at the widest setting, meaning it's going to take in the entire scene. But, when you zoom with your phone, you can create a similar look. 


Cell phone close-up 
BLOGGING TIPS: These photos make me think about life in this way - sometimes we have so much going on in our lives that we are running on the big picture with clutter all around. But sometimes, we need to stop and focus on what's right in front of us. Appreciate a person, talent, or job that we have. Let all the clutter of busyness be stripped away and what do you see? Beauty, right in front of you! 

So go grab your camera and cell phone and go experiment with it! Take pictures at different lens lengths and see if you can't also create the blurred background! 

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking!

Mary


TWEETABLE: How Can You Use the Zoom Feature on you Camera to Blur the Background? (Click to Tweet)!


17 comments:

  1. Oh gosh Mary I do wish you were closer to actually see me in action with my phone camera. I don't use the zoom feature much because I seem to blur everything! I will have a go this weekend, thank you once again for another great post.
    Wren x

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    1. Hi Wren, see reply below...I hit the wrong reply box! Have a great weekend!

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  2. Hi Wren! I understand your plight! I had my phone for a year before I knew how to zoom and make the picture clear.... Try this: After you zoom, if the picture is fuzzy, re-tap where you want it to focus. If that doesn't help, let me know what kind of phone you have and I'll try to help you figure it out! (I have an iPhone 4s).

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  3. Hello Mary. So good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am so glad to stop by your blog "Mary Denman.....Writer, photographer and Observer" and the post on it "Photo Tip Friday- Using zoom on your Camera to Blur the Background". Oh sitting at home we can learn the techniques of using zoom to blur the backgound to take pictures. Those pictures are so clear and so attractive that you feel like looking at them for a long time. I am in the Pastoral ministry for last 35yrs in the great city of Mumbai a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young people as well as adults from the West to come to Mumbai on a short / long term missions trip to work with us in the slums of Mumbai amongst poorest of poor to share the good news of Jesus Christ and to give future, hope and life. We would love to have your teen ages young adults come with their friends to work with us in the slums of Mumbai during their summer/ Christmas vacation. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon.

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    1. Hi Diwakar, I'm glad that my tips can help you. I will pray for your ministry. You have a great mission to the broken hearted! Be blessed!

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  4. Great tips! I love learning about photography and how to use my camera to capture great shots. Right now, I'm having my camera repaired and having been relying on my cell to take pics. I love close up shots and find that getting up close and personal really helps, thanks. :)

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    1. Thanks Bernadyn! I'm sorry you're missing your big camera. I'm almost in the same boat. I need to have the metering checked, but with having to send it in, I don't know that I can bear to be without it!!

      Up close and personal definitely makes a difference! Have a great weekend!

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  5. These are great tips, I do use my phone camera, we are not big on taking many photos, I use it more for cats, lol. The zoom does work great especially when I dont want them to move.

    Thanks for stopping by to add your link to our Party, I appreciate that and I wanted to let you know that I have Pinned Your Photo to our Weekend Party Board, wahoo.
    Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thanks Karren for stopping by and for adding me to the board! I love teaching about photography. I have three cats and think that they make great subjects!

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  6. Great and easy tip! Love the first photo! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks Tina, excited you're coming back to the States! Let me know where yo settle. I know, it's a long way away. ;)

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  7. Great tips Mary, I love to see your photography :)

    Thanks for sharing over at the weekend blog hop..

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    1. Thanks Claire! I'm going to figure out how to show your blog hop button! Hope you have a great week!

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  8. Love the tips Mary! Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks Paula! Hope they help. I'm going to stet linking to the blog hops I go to, yours included!

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  9. Great tip I have got to work on my photography skills more.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Jennifer! Your dinner ideas look great!

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