Photographers get bombarded with questions on a regular basis. This week, we’ll answer a few of the most common ones.
How Do I Get the Background Blurry?
You just took the perfect portrait of your 10 year old daughter, but looming in the background is a clear view of her big brother proudly mocking his sister with half a finger shoved up his nose. Picture (and moment) ruined right? WRONG!
If you can blur the background, then that annoying nose-picker will turn into an blurry blob that you wont even notice. You can do this by simply narrowing your depth-of-field. The way to do that is to shoot with a wide aperture. If you’re not comfortable shooting in manual mode (which we’ll get into in a bit) then switch to aperture priority mode and open your aperture up to F3.5 or so (if F2.8 is an option, give that a shot).
Why Don’t My Shots Have Any Pop?
There have been entire classes taught with the purpose of answering this question so summing it up in a paragraph is almost impossible. I’ll offer up some advice to give you a strong start.
First, try to simplify your background as much as possible. That will minimize distractions which maximizes the attention on your subject.
Second, fill the frame with your subject. Shooting too far away from your subject will turn what could’ve been a compelling image into a “blah” snapshot. Just when you think you’re close enough, take three steps closer!
Third, learn the rule of thirds. This is one of the simplest rules of composition that will make an instant impact in your images. If you can learn where to place you subject in the frame, your images will skyrocket in quality!
Do I HAVE to learn how to shoot in manual mode?
I honestly believe that you should learn how to properly shoot in manual mode. Manual mode gives you complete control of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Once you learn how to shoot in manual, go ahead and shoot in aperture or shutter priority. Just make sure when you choose those modes, you’re using them because you want to and not as a crutch.
There are great (free) tutorials on Youtube that can walk you through the process of learning how to shoot in manual. Check out this video for a great lesson in shooting in manual mode.
What lenses do I need?
I would start with one lens and learn to shoot with that lens until it becomes child’s play. The lens I would start with is a 50mm, also called the “nifty fifty”. Most major lens manufacturers make great versions of this lens. The “cheap” versions open all the way up to F1.8 while the top of the line versions open up to F1.2 producing a razor thin depth of field and backgrounds that are creamier than pudding!
Once you determine what kind of photography you are into, you can purchase more lenses that will suit your style.
What are some good resources for a beginning photographer?
There is an endless amount of blogs and other websites for photographers. I would begin with these 5 resources.
- www.nikoncafe.com (a personal favorite of mine)
As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me this week. If you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe and share via the social media links. You can also find MTM Photography on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so be sure to check out those pages! I’ll see ya next week!