Creative Blur : 3 Effective Ways To Create Blur Within Photographs
one of my favorite ways to create a compelling image is through use of creative blur. whether i am blurring my entire image, or just blurring sections within the background or foreground, i love using creative blur as a way of drawing my viewer’s eye to my intended subject.
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one of the key ways to accomplishing creative blur is through the use of a wide aperture . i typically use an aperture of f/2.8 or lower to create soft blur within my images. remember, the higher your aperture number such as f/16, more of your image will be in focus. the lower your aperture number such as f/3.5 or lower, less of your image will be in focus.
Creative Blur: 3 Effective Ways To Create Blur Within Photographs
from time to time, i like to switch my lens to manual focus and play around with creative blur that way. in the image above of the traffic scene, i intentionally turned the focus ring on my lens to make the entire image out of focus. by doing this, i placed a creative blur over the entire image. this can be effective when you want to intentionally create a blurry image, which can be very beautiful if done in a way that doesn’t confuse your viewer. if you want to blur your entire image, you may want to play around with your focus ring and blur only enough that still allows your viewer to visually understand your scene.
Blur Out Distractions
one of the best parts about using creative blur is that it allows you to photograph in crowded areas, without creating a visually “crowded” photograph. in the photo above, i was visiting a cupcake shop that was extremely crowded. by using an aperture of f/2.8 and placing my focal point closer to my foreground (away from the crowd in the background) i was able to create a soft blur over the distant distractions of the people and the store walls. because i am blurring out the elements that i find to be visually distracting, i am allowing the focus to stay where i want it: on the cupcakes.
Use Single Point Focus
while you will want to check with your camera manual to review what focus modes your camera has, i set my nikon d750 to single point focus. this allows me to move my focal point around and place it on a specific point within the frame. this helps when creating creative blur because i can place my focal point within the foreground, middle, or background of the image and have that focal plane be the only area in focus. depending on what aperture i use, this allows all other focal planes to fall out of focus. in the image above, i was using an aperture of f/1.4 on my wide angle lens and placed the focal point in the foreground, on my knee, allowing the background to fall out of focus.
using creative blur can help create stronger images as you showcase your subject and allow it’s surroundings to fall out of focus. this can also simply just be beautiful. because our eye technically places focus on our focal point and blurs the surroundings, we are essentially creating realistic photos of how one sees the world when we are using creative blur.
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