Photo Tip Friday: Blurring the Background, Part 1

by Mary Denman    @MaryDenman

Laura Denman by Mary Denman Photography

Have you ever seen photos where the subject is nice and clear while the background had a soft, blurry feel to it? Today, I'm going to give you some tips on how to create that effect in your pictures. 

This is my girl. I love her smile. 

Let's get started! 

COLLAGE 1: In this first collage, we can see how far the subject, my fun daughter Laura is away from the background. 

COLLAGE 1: The distance of the subject from the wall by MARY DENMAN

I'm letting you see the full picture, messy flower bed, soccer ball and all. Why? 

First, because I wanted you to really see how far away Laura is away from the brick wall.
Secondly, because I want you to know that you can take great photos by paying attention to your background. In these full body shots, you can see a distracting soccer ball, the weeds, etc. NOT a good background. 

But by focusing in on your subject, you can eliminate a lot of the clutter. So let's go to . . . .

COLLAGE 2: Each of these pictures corresponds to the one in the first collage. Now that I've zoomed in on Laura, you can see the dramatic difference of blurring that occurs based on how far she is away from the wall. 

COLLAGE 2: Creating a blurry background by the distance of the subject to the background by MARY DENMAN

Can you see the difference? 

So what can we learn from these examples? 

TIP 1: The further the background is from your subject, the blurrier the background will be when you zoom in on your subject. 

TIP 2: Move! Either move your subject or you move. Just a little fore thought can make such a difference. A couple of feet (or a meter) can improve your shots dramatically.

TIP 3: Take better pictures by zooming in and cutting out, or cropping, the clutter around your subject. That's why I showed you the first shots. If you hadn't seen where my daughter was standing, you may have assumed it was a great location we had gone to. Instead, it was just my driveway and weedy flowerbed. The brick wall is my house. 

These are really practical tips that can help you create shots that you want. 

But they don't apply just to taking portraits. They also apply to inanimate objects like these flowers on a rock wall. I was looking down on them from above. 

What's that blurry background behind them? A lake that was several feet (a couple of meters) below them. The distance created the blur. 

Next week will be Part 2 that will explain other ways to create blur. 

So, grab your camera and go try to put these tips into practice! 

Hope they help! 

Keep on clicking! 



  1. Great advice and a nice demo, Mary. Have a fabulous weekend!

  2. Nice tips, Mary! Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you found me on Instagram. :)

    1. Me too! I've been neglecting it and finally decided to use it more! Thanks for hosting!

  3. Laura's a beautiful girl and a great subject to show off your skill! I tend to blur things I don't mean to :)

    I'd like to have another photo shoot while we're at Blue Ridge - one that brings out a bit of my fun/silly side. I'm going to check the schedule and see when I have a free spot. I'll sign up the first chance I get the first night.

    Looking forward to seeing you. Still praying

    1. I'm excited Sherry! Let's do it! Can't wait to see you!

  4. Theses are really fun photos!!! She is very photogenic.
    Thanks for stopping by to link and share on The Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday Feature!! Your post has been pinned!!
    We appreciate you shared your blog with us!!
    Have a great weekend, Karren~Host

    1. Thanks so much Karren for the pin! I'm just working my way up to Pinterest! (I have an account, but I'm still a little intimidated. :) I'm always happy to stop by. You have wonderful blog parties!

  5. I am so stopping by the moment I am anyway near you, I promise! I love these tips, thank you!
    Wren x

    1. Yay!!!! I'm so happy to hear that! Australia and New Zealand on are my bucket list, if I ever head your way, I'll give you a shout out! :)

  6. Great tips. I will definitely give this a try this weekend.

    1. Let me know how they turn out Raych! Have a wonderful weekend!