1. willkia

    willkia

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    Hi Guys,

    So I want to shoot my model and have her all in focus and the background blurred.

    I have no problem doing it when I just shoot the face (close up portrait) But when I want the whole body in I struggle.


    Which is the best focus mode to use?

    What AF spots should I be using?


    I hope this makes sense.
     
  2. Nawty

    Nawty

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    It's not about focussing mode, it's about aperture, depth of field and plane of focus. edit: and also probably focal length as you are using a zoom.

    What apertures are you using?
     
  3. sirch

    sirch Official Forum Numpty 2015

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    Start by having the model stood a good distance from the background, that way it is easier to get the background OOF
     
  4. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    Have a look here

    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    and then position your model at the appropriate distance from the background

    Use the normal focus mode and one AF spot otherwise the camera will choose what it wants not what you want
     
  5. willkia

    willkia

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    So the model will be in a field so plenty of room behind model.

    I always use the lowest fstop. so 1.8. Is that too low?
     
  6. Nawty

    Nawty

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    Could be: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    But I think it is probably as much to do with the angle you are shooting at and the plane of focus.

    Why not post some examples?
     
  7. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    1.8 will give you the shallowest Depth of Field, don't be tempted to shoot at the wide angle end (i.e. 18mm) if that is the only lens you have available use the 35mm end, ideally you need a longer focal length with a wide aperture. Distances play a major part in all this.
     
  8. Phil V

    Phil V

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    It’s not about focus, it’s about DoF;
    I don’t know what camera or lenses you have but if you find an online DoF calculator, you’ll see that that it’s a relationship between subject distance and aperture and focal length, but sensor size also plays a part.

    I shoot these with a 135 f2, but still need some care with background distance.

    Edit... Now I feel dumb, as I posted I noticed your gear
     
  9. willkia

    willkia

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    Maybe my pics are ok?

    [​IMG]

    I just thought it had something to do with what focus mode / focus points
     
  10. Nawty

    Nawty

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    To be honest that looks all out of focus except for the floor in front of the models, you need to make sure the camera is focussing on the eyes, or at the very least the head.

    Also, it is shot at too wide an angle to get decent subject-background separation so there's an issue there.

    Also, you really really need to pay attention to the background of your shots, a distracting background (such as this) can ruin a shot.
     
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  11. willkia

    willkia

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    Which one of the below would you use when shooting more than 1 person?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  12. willkia

    willkia

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    this next question is prob a basic question, sorry, im new.

    For the shot above of the girls, does it matter if I zoom in with the lens to get the shot, or is it better to not zoom in at all, but zoom with my feet?
     
  13. willkia

    willkia

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    what have I done wrong, or is it hard for you to answer that without seeing my settings etc?
     
  14. Nawty

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    I would use the first one and move the focus point so it is on the face.

    A couple of things... if you use too wide an angle you will distort the subject and they will look odd so you don't want to use wide angle unless you can avoid it. You get more background blur if you use a longer focal length. So, you should use it as 'zoomed in' as possible although with your lens that isn't very far (but maybe far enough)....
     
  15. welly

    welly

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    It doesn't matter how you zoom in, it's all dependent on what you want from your shot.

    A combination of zooming with the lens and standing closer to the subject will result in more out of focus background and isolating the models, if that's what you want (I'd suggest in this example, you probably do - the background is not that interesting).

    Obviously you need to get your focus on the model's face nailed though (shouldn't be difficult with your gear).

    And what nawty said about the lens.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  16. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    Complicated way... single point AF and move the focus point to where you need it, i.e. eyes/faces. Simpler. single point AF leave on the centre point and focus and recompose (1st is potentially more accurate)

    You want your focal length to be as long as possible so on your lens 35mm (which is rather too short IMO) and your widest aperture i.e. f1.8.

    You also need to learn to look beyond your subject....
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  17. willkia

    willkia

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    okay, thanks all :)
     
  18. rick448

    rick448

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    I'd say you could have isolated the background more, as that seems to be what you are after. Maybe also take care of what the background is, and where it sits in with main subject as it can be distracting.

    Here is an example, not a great picture by any means, but shows the subject isolation, and the background is less distracting as it is pretty much OOF even though there are some bright colours..

    [​IMG]0I1A4198 by rick phillips, on Flickr
     
  19. Phil V

    Phil V

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    There is only one plane of focus.
    So if you want shallow DoF you really need to ensure both subjects are the same distance from the camera.
    Then focus on the eyes of one of them, preferably by choosing an appropriate single focus point.
     
  20. Phil V

    Phil V

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    You’re misunderstanding the zoom of a lens, your 18-35 lens is effectively a wide angle (18) a semi wide (23) and a standard (35) lens.
    Focal length is completely different to ‘zooming with your feet’*.

    *experiment in the world with no pressure, use different focal lengths and then move to frame your subject to the same size, you’ll see how remarkably different the photos are.

    But the simple answer to your question is that if that’s the only lens you have, use it at 35mm for the shot you’re asking about. As above, id choose a lot longer if I were to take it.
     
  21. Phil V

    Phil V

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    As above, it’s out of focus and shot too wide and the background is distracting.
    In short... far from ‘ok’, but follow the advice here and you can do much better than ‘ok’.
     
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  22. Raymond Lin

    Raymond Lin

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    200mm/2.8.

    Step right back to get full body.

    35mm on Crop for full body gives you quite a deep dof.

    The longer the focal length the easier it’ll be.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  23. Andrew Moore

    Andrew Moore

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    As has been said, invest in a longer lens/zoom.

    The 70-200f2.8 is where I would be looking as the ratio between where you would need to stand at 35mm f1.8 to achieve the same background to model ratio would see the 70mm end at f3.5 and the 200mm end at about f8/9 so getting the model in frame at about 90mm (135 equiv) at f2.8 would no doubt yield the results your after, if anything the dof may cause the shoulders and arms to be slightly out of focus when compared to the face and bust which could mean knocking back to about f4.

    Edit, just seen your on a crop.. an 90mm or 135mm at f1.8-f2 is what I’d be looking to buy although the 70-200 at the longer end and f2.8 will yield the same sort of results.
     
  24. Pete B

    Pete B

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    Longer lens, :agree:, listen to the Jedi masters Phil V, and Raymond, understand the concepts of depth of field and aperture. Be thankful you're not shooting film too.
     
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  25. Pete B

    Pete B

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    Umm, no, really no, camera shake or the wrong focus, nothing is in focus.
     
  26. willkia

    willkia

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    so my Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 lens is the wrong type of lens to use to achieve the below?

    Link
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2018
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  27. welly

    welly

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    Yes. You need a much longer lens for that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2018
  28. LeeRatters

    LeeRatters

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    I don't think you are going to get what you want at 35mm & f/1.8 in all honesty..... Yes, you can play with camera/subject/background distances a little to improve over what you already have but it still won't be to your hopes.

    This little snapshot is 85mm f/1.8 on full frame.....

    [​IMG]
    ***
    by Lee, on Flickr
     
  29. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    No . . . ish.
    Depth of Focus 'zone', the amount of front to back distance in 'acceptable' focus in front and behind the distance you focus on, is proportional to, first the aperture; bigger aperture/lower f-no, smaller that zone will be; Focus Distance; further away you focus, the Deeper the DoF will be.
    Focal length.... gets a bit more complicated, in theory it doesn't make any difference... but it does. Longer lenses have a close focus distance further away from the camera, and a longer range of 'critical' focus between thier nearest focus distance and the 'hyper-focal' distance, where everything beyond is in 'acceptable focus'.
    So, for a given focus distance, you will tend to have a DoF zone pulled closer to the camera, because of the closer focus distance.... but then because the lens gives a larger 'magnification' to get a person sized subject in the frame, you will tend to move further away from them and set a longer focus distance than using a wider lens, so you get back a bit of DoF... but you will get more 'effect' of shallow DoF, because for the same effective framing, you will likely have to increase the Focus range less than a longer lens reduces closest focus distance, so pulling the DoF zone shorter and closer to the camera.

    BUT... to answer your more specific questions; this is NOT a question of equipment, its a question of know-how.... and as far as the red-dots go..... well? They are putting the focus distance on an arbitery 'subject' the electrickery measures between the camera and a solid subject.....

    Make the leap from expecting the camera to serve up the effect you want, and apply old fashioned craft... and rather than trying to get 'Shallow-Focus' to chuck back-grounds out of the DoF zone, you can start exploiting 'Selective Focus' to do the same..... and get far more, in far wider range of situations, and do it without the sort of 'gear' folk rave about as 'essential' to deliver shallow focus 'on demand'

    GO MANUAL...... focus, not exposure!

    The Red-Sots need a solid 'target' to get a bead on to do their focus range calculations, then set that specific focus distance for you in the electrickery.... BUT... you want to chuck the background 'oof' but keep your subject in the DoF zone.... chasing shallow focus with ever wider apertures and longer lenses, you will get to a point where the DoF zone is so shallow, you can focus on a subjects eyes, and chuck their ears and nose oof.... yet, the back-ground isn't all that out of focus still.

    I will get told off for repeating the old rule of thumb that the DoF is aprox 1/3 ahead of the focus setting, 2/3 behind, by widgetal pedants... who are technically correct.. but still.... that's the old rule of thumb. If I pick up one of my old manual focus lenses, it has a handy focus scale, lots of modern widgetals often don't, but more still, it has a pair of DoF brackets to indicate on the focus scale where the DoF zone will fall, for any aperture setting... neat hugh! Didgital adherants have to faff with a Smurph-Phone to work this out!

    BUT... fire the red-dots.... now, I DONT focus on my Subject!

    Picking up my trusty olf Ziess 50mm, 'cos its to hand.... If I set focus to 10ft which is about right to frame a standing person completely, DoF marks tell me that at f8, my DoF will be from aprox 7ft to 15 ft... so the back-ground has to be at least five foot behind my subject before it even starts going oof, and is probably not very oof even ten foot behind them.... if I open up the aperture to f4, DoF is from aprox 9ft to 12.. and still the back-ground has to be quite a long way behind my subject to start oof-ing....

    BUT... 'Selective Focus' rather than simply 'shallow-focus'... subject is 10ft away.... at f8 I have DoF zone of approx 7ft to 15ft.... and the back-ground isn't going very oof very fast.... because the majority of the DoF zone is behind the Focus Setting... which is the bit I DONT want in focus! Bit in front? There's nothing there to be in or out of focus! SO... being 'crafty', I can pull the focus forwards.. focus at perhaps 8ft focus range.... NOW the DoF zone shrinks, just like I had used a bigger aperture..... WITHOUT setting a wider aperture.....I still have more DoF but most of it is now 'wasted' in that region infront of my subject where there';s nothing to be 'in' or 'out' of focus.... and I am getting the back-ground going 'oof' earlier, and probably a lot earlier than it would with a wider a aperture..... make sense?

    There's only one niggle..... there's nothing infront of the subject for the red-dots to get a lock on.... so I HAVE to focus manually, because the camera's electrickery would get confused!

    NOW... we get into the question of 'Bokah'... which is almost utterly subjective, and isn't about how much 'OoF' fuzziness you get, but how pretty it is... and this is entirtely dependent on the subject not the equipment.

    If you have sun filtering through trees; you get little halos of light in the OoF zone, where each high-light diffuses into the shaddow around it. If you have a beige concrete wall... there's no high-lights and shaddows, so nothing to blurr, and you dont get any 'bokah'.... so there's even more to the craft, this is entirely in the scene, and no lens or focus scheme or camera setting will change whats out there infront of the lens; you either have a back-ground that's condusive to the 'effect'... or you dont..... and up to you to find it, exploit it, and make as much or as little of it as you will... BUT its in the composition to begin with; not in the kit, and you can only enhance it with the equipment, not make it. And you will only enhance it a little expecting the kit to do it for you using wide-aperture and or long lenses for 'shallow-focus', to make the most of it, you STILL need to apply more craft and exploit 'selective focus'... WHICH is where asking about red-dots and focus schemes is missing the point, and making life harder for yourself not easier, because red dots will only focus on something that is physically there.... and to utilise shallow-focus you need to focus on something that ISN'T there.

    Look at your photo.... and look at the back-ground. There's lattice trellis in the back-ground, and shrubs, there's not an awful lot there conducive to making a pleasant OoF bokah back ground.

    Look at the example photo you'd like to emulate; The Background is far more busy, with a chap in very busy Hawaiian print shirt for starters! But street signs, shop lamps, car headlights, theres a lot more detail in there and a lot more contrast between high-light and shadow to show 'Out of Focus' blurr and produce Bokah effects.. the SCENE is much more conducive to that effect before you even start;.. and look at the cobble stones beneath the girl..... they are in focus from the edge of the frame.... a little cheeky peek, but I counted five or six rows of bricks infront of her foot that are in focus.....I only copunted four rows of bricks behind, before they started going OoF.... Hmmmm.... May be a flook.... BUT, that suggests to me that there's actually more DoF infront of the subject than behind, which is contrary to the way that the electrickery would tend to work with AF, that would put 1/3 infront 2/3 behind or maybe 50/50.... but with more infront than behind? SUGGESTS that that photographer was NOT relying on equipment to get Shallow Focus, but turning off the AF, and exploiting Selective Focus to put the DoF zone where they wanted it, not where the camera's electrickery best guessed it aught to be.....

    So THAT is how you would get photo's 'like' that one...... start with your composition and picking a back ground more conducive to the Bokah OoF effect you want; then dont just rely on the gear 'giving' you shallow focus, but make it, exploiting Selective Focus, using Manual Focus or if you must use AF, putting red dot on something infront of your subject or at shorter range than your subject and using Focus-Lock before recomposing and firing shutter...

    Has little or nothing to do with the kit in your mitt, but the craft in your cranium.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  30. rick448

    rick448

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  31. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    Post-Script thunks:-

    LeeRatters aded his pic with the beach hotel in the background, which makes nice comparison with rick448 offering of the little girl infront of the trees. See what I mean about the beige back-ground being less conducive to showing any sort of Bokah effect, whilst the light through the trees does?

    Rick doesn't say what gear he used, but profile suggests he uses full frame, which would imply that you 'need' longer lenses and bigger sensors to get this sort of effect... but Lee says he took his photo with an 85mm at f1.8 (which is fast) on full frame, and not having the bokah condusive back-ground to start with, didn't get anything of the effect, which supports what I said about it being more in the craft than the kit.

    It's certainly easier to get selective focus effects with longer lenses and larger sensors, though, but it remains so much more in the craft not the kit and having that back-ground you can emphasise with the gear to begin with.

    Slight asside; I have a Crop-Sensor DSLR on which I occasionally mount a Sigma 4.5mm fish-eye. That lens has such a short close focus distance, I can literally put the glass of the front element against your nose, and get it and the rest of your face, in focus! (well, as long as you don't sneeze!) The close focus distance and the range of 'critical' focus at such a short focal length is soo short and close to the camera, that its effectively 'Focus Free'... and in fact, I have a 12mm 'Fish' for my old film cameras, and with such a short close focus distance and correspondingly close 'hyperfocal' distance, it IS focus free, and has no focus adjustment.

    More still, I have a little action-cam, which also has a mere 4.5mm focal length. It too is 'focus-free', relying on such short focal length and close near and hyperfocal distances as to make it redundant, and the enormouse 'crop-factor' of a tiny tiny sensor only taking the central part of the image from the lense to give the effective framing of about a 35mm lens on Full-Frame. This is rather convenient on something primerily to shoot video, where it doesn't need a heavy and expensive focus mechanism trying to 'track' subjects moving in the frame; but it does mean that it will NOT offer any shallow-focus-effects.

    Going the other way, I have a loverly old Ziess Ikonta 120 (film) 'Folder'. 6x9cm negatives, the 'sensor' size is particularly enourmouse! Consequently has a rather 'long' 105mm lens for a 'standard' angle of view. This produces brilliant Shallow-Focus 'Focus Dissociation' at Portrait sort of ranges, because the DoF zone, even at relatively moderate apertures; (OTMH I Think its fastest aperture is f6.3) because its closest focus distance is pulled closer to the camera by the 'belows' the lens moves on, like a set of macro-extransion tubes.

    What is most noteable though, is not that it gives that sort of OoF effect so much more easily because of the scale, but the wonderful 'Focus Fade' it also produces from doing it with such moderate aperture settings.

    It's an even bigger departure to topic; but....

    There is a marked 'phonomina' in modern photography and obscession with 'Sharpness', which can be debated ad infinitum on its own; but, in digital a LOT of merit is given to how sharply rendered subjects appear, and its interesting that when people see a discociated back-ground, how often they comment on the effect... usually pleasantly, because smaller sensors and shorter lenses dont make it 'as' common or 'as' easy to achieve; BUT.. taken further, more revealing is when folk start buying fast-prime lenses to get 'razor' shallow focus, how often taken to the extreme on smaller format digital cameras, it is so 'stark' an effect, with so little subtelty and 'fade' from clearly 'in' focus, to clearly 'out of focus', they get accused of using photo-shop and montaging thier subject against the back-ground... SO much dissociation has been achieved, and is rendered so 'sharply' with so little fade between the two, it LOOKS artificial.

    Again, a lot of that is in the craft, and picking a back-ground more condusive to 'Bokah', but at the same time, it is a scale thing, where larger formats and longer lenses help achieve it, but more help exploit it that much more subtely....

    Which is a hint, when you are playing with this effect, that more is not always better, and like most effects, subtlety is key, and NOT relying on such gimmicks to give your picture 'instant' impact less is often more, and you get more pleasing results that look much more natural, NOT chasing such a stark focus dissociation, and using tighter apertures to give a more subtle focus fade, and exploiting 'selective focus' rather than just shallow focus to get that fade where you want it in the 'composition' to accentuate the dissociation between subject and back-ground, without loosing the association between them.

    Back to craft and composition, over kit.

    So, adding re-iteration, No you dont have the 'wrong' gear to achieve Selective-Focus effects... its just not the 'easiest' to get it with, and wont serve it up automatically, you have to work for it, and understand where and when its most apropriate and likely to 'add' to your photo, or detract.

    And on that, its worth remembering that Selective-Focus is just ONE way to emphasise your subject over the setting.

    A bland boring, uninteresting back-ground, in itself, can be enough to do that, you dont need to try underline the pount with selective focus or OoF back-ground dissociation.

    A busy 'cluttered' back-ground may be more condusive to being rendered more abstract by being OoF, and a more likely candidate you WANT to de-emphasis in composition, and MAY be more condusive to a 'pretty' Bokah effect.. but it may not... and even if it IS... its the subject you want the viewer to look at... NOT how pretty the fuzzy back-ground is!

    SUBTELTY! More is not always 'better', and effect does not the photo make, on its own. Its like salt and vinegar on your chips, a seasoning, not the meal! So dont burn the chips, trying to find the perfect vinegar for them! Cremated chips will still be cremated chips whether you use Smart-Pice vinegar or Marks and Sparks super-unleaded tripple distilled real malt balsamic!

    If you choose to exploit the effect, you have to be careful NOT to over power the subject and make the 'effect' the main interest of the photo, rather than the subject.
     
  32. rick448

    rick448

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    I used the following:

    Canon 5D MKiii EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM @ 70mm F3.5 125
     
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  33. Phil V

    Phil V

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    No it isn’t!:eek:
    That’s depth of field.

    Begs the question, how much is wrong in the rest of the unreadable post. :tumbleweed:

    300 words Mike and people will read it.
     
  34. Phil V

    Phil V

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    But importantly they’re not full length.
     
  35. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    I tried, oh I tried ever so hard, I think the gist was to deliberately front focus:confused:... Now correct me if I am wrong I always thought there was one plane of focus and the rest that made up your DoF was only acceptable focus (and of course subject to variables)....
     
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  36. juggler

    juggler

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    Umm.. stop worrying about getting the background out of focus.. and think instead about getting a nicer separation from or use of the background by using composition and light.

    If it's a boring background then at f1.8 it'll just be a blurry boring background.
     
  37. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Short answer is an 85mm f/1.4 lens, or Canon 85mm f/1.8 is more affordable.

    You need to get a good grip on depth-of-field and other factors affecting background blur (bokeh). In particular, focal length - doubling focal length, and moving back to double the distance, maintains the same depth-of-field and framing of the subject but increases background blur by roughly the equivalent of two stops of lens aperture.

    For maximum background blur, use long focal length, lowest f/number, get some distance between the subject and background, and fill the frame.

    Play around with this blur and DoF simulator (y)
    https://dofsimulator.net/en/
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  38. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Wrong lens, wrong camera height.
     
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