How to Blur The Background (Bokeh)

Hi, I’m Chelsea -and I’m Tony -and today we’re
going to show you how to get the background blur of your dreams. And the first way is super easy, your just
need to move your subject farther away from your background. People always stand against walls and such
and there’s just not enough of the depth of field to blur the
background. So I’m just gonna move to the side where the
background is much further away. And Chelsea will take a picture from the
same distance with the same settings and the background be much blurrier. You can also have your model move
closer to the subject, just it closer to the camera. Fill more of the frame with their face. A headshot
always blurs the background more than a full body shot. Another way to get a nice background
blur is to put your camera in aperture priority mode, put it on Auto ISO,
and then put your aperture as low as you can. So remember a low
aperture number means low background sharpness. So I’m gonna put my camera on at f/11 And you can see a lot of the background
is still in focus. But if I turn it all the way down to f/1.8 you get that nice smooth background blur. That’s another tip, you might want to change your lens too. The kit lens that came with your camera probably has an f/stop number of f/5.6. If you get an inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 like the ones that we have, you’ll be able to blur the background much much more. Also, cameras with bigger sensors tend to blur
the background more with the same f/stop number. So if
you’re considering an upgrade to a full frame camera you just might get that background blur that you want.
You also want to zoom in as much as you can, even if you have to step back. So I’ll take a close picture of Chelsea. Then I’ll step back some and zoom in tight. Zooming in blurs the background much more. So, that’s it. Just follow those few simple tips and
you’ll have that bokeh that you’ve always wanted. If you want to learn more
about photography, check out our book Stunning Digital Photography and don’t forget to subscribe for more free videos. Thanks.

Comments 100

  • I see there are 12 dislikes! I wonder, why are those 12 even come to this channel?! If I dont like something, I wouldnt even bother to watch it, more so to "dislike" it! :/

  • because any photo needs a blurred background – it's the new sliced bread of photography – if you dare to have a focus depth of more than 1-2mm you are a complete fool and know nothing…now go and shoot and if more than the subject's nose hairs are in focus then you can never be a "PRO"….off you go now to buy those expensive (really it will make your man/womanhood more exciting ).lenses …but please keep complaining about those old lenses where nothing seemed to be sharp at even F8 and how much better things are now that absolutely nothing is in focus…merry Xmas… ( sorry to rain on the parade but this is just exacerbating the boke infatuation…)

  • Where did you learn to do that mean mug, Tony?

  • Even though this is basic, it's a great refresher for me! I'm obsessed with background blur, so it drives me crazy sometimes! Great video!
    Also, I'm sorry I haven't been watching the live shows for a while. My school schedule conflicts with the love stream.

  • Your such a babe, Merry Christmas guys

  • I met a guy who has been photographing and selling wildlife photographs for years, he switched to using auto ISO in the last couple of years and said you can't beat it. I sceptically took his advice and agree. Does this make me a bad person…?

  • Hi. Is there a way to buy your 9 hour video without buying the book?

  • Actually, a great way to blur your background is to put Bigfoot back there.

  • Tony what do you think about new canon 100-400mm ii

  • Very good video! Simple, efficient and purpose! Congratulations!

  • Nice video! I also like the village setting. . I have your book, or should say just got it back from someone that borrowed it. Will make time to read and apply the info. Thanks guys.

  • Bokehlicous.

  • Nice tips Tony and Chelsea. This is about as simple as you can explain this concept without getting too technical. Some of the comments state that you are moving into more beginner territory, however I love the way you can explain complex things in very simple terms. Lets not forget beginners. We were all there at one time which started us on this wonderful journey The more we get beginners involved, the more people we can share our passion for photography with and the more people that will have a healthier respect for our skills and creativity. I would also add that I have also watched many of your more complex tutorials for the more intermediate and advanced amateurs and professionals and found them equally as educational and informative. Keep it going.

  • love your channel, thanks so much for sharing!!!

  • I'm a full time nurse and LOVE!! photography, I've taken a few courses, purchased your book, and watched all your videos. I'm looking for advice on how to become a professional photographer? Best courses/ certified schools? I live in NJ. I would REALLY appreciate it your help!!! Thanks and happy holidays. 

  • Hi "what camera should I start with the nikon d7000 / d7100 or the sony a6000 … which one is the best .!

  • Tony, could you tell me what model/type of lavalier mike you are using in this video.   The sound is amazing for the distance from the mouth and the fact that you are outside!

  • Bokeh that I always wanted…omg you read my mind!

  • In your videos are your sample shots raw or jpeg?   Does it make any difference when you test/review lenses?
    PS: Just discovered your videos a few weeks ago and I'm slowly working through them, and I've purchased all three of your books  – working through each.  You guys are great!

  • Thank you 

  • Do have any advice for bridge camera users, canon sx60 hs?

  • New year greeting from down under… I have been following your videos on Youtube and man you guys are a legend… I have recently entered the world of DSLR photography and am in very early stages of learning. I have watched quite a few videos  and have read up-to chap-3 of your book which i received as a gift from my wife. Really appreciate the effort you guys have put in to come up with something that is equally appealing to new comers as well as intermediate and probably pros. 

    The other day I went out with my son to the park to take a few quick ones but I was so overwhelmed by the camera that in the end I just gave up. I tried to fiddle around with the mode and shutter speed but in all instances the picture came out crap. even in auto mode it wasn't freezing motion. In some pics I wasn't able to stop the motion in the shot on the swing or it was coming out too dark. Although this hasn't put me off learning to improve myself but I guess its more of a practice thing. At the moment i am just trying to learn more about my camera (Nikon D5300) and the kit lens (18-140mm 3.5-5.6)

    I also tried a the technique that you mention in the video about long focal length for portraits for the bokeh effect. I tried it with my kit lens at 140mm and the aperture was at 5.6 as thats the smallest it could go at that focal length but even then my depth of field was very broad. I had my camera in aperture priority and my subject would have been a few meters from me but my camera was focusing not only the subject but also at infinity. I don't know if its something to do with the lens or its me (probably the later) but it would be really helpful if you can give me a few tips. I was so pissed off at the pics that i deleted them straight away on the spot. I think it might have been helpful if i had saved them for later review or comments.
    P.S; I am also trying to join the facebook page but havent been accepted as of yet. Anything special I need to do??


  • Can you review the Tamron 15-30mm 2.8 with vibration control? It is not out yet, but people say this is a great lens. I'd love to watch your review.

  • Hi Tony, really like your channel, as most folks out there don't respond as much to their comments and doesn't quite feel like a community. MY QUESTION IS: can you please make a video on how to shoot with aperture wide open (going for that that bokeh) in the midday sun WITH a remote flash? I know that on-camera-flash can go beyond the maximum flash sync speed, but how about using the radio-transmitter? What I normally get if I go beyond 1/320th is that the bottom part of my photo is completely black. And that is given that I shoot with a higher end D800. And is there a way to avoid ND filters at all?

  • Okay i have a 1100D and i want to be able to get some good photos with nice background blur so which one of these would give better results? Canon 50mm f1.8 OR Canon EF-S 55 – 250 mm f/4-5.6 IS II which one of these will give me a better bokeh? pls help im very confused since zoom also compresses the background. idk which one is better.

  • you guys are great….i already know the DOF relation to f/stop and distance. but i watched to video to see how simple you guys explain things.


  • Nice video tony , i have d5300 how I got best blur. Pic plz the lens 18-55 mm

  • Hi Tony and Chelsea! Great video and awesome channel! I wanted to ask you about the stage of this video in particular, its a beatiful town! Where is it?? Thanks a lot for all the information, cheers from Argentina!

  • I don't even know why I watched this seeing as this was all stuff I knew but I sill liked it.

  • Help! The video content is blurry. My AF points are locked on the cuteness of Tony & Chelsea Northrup.

  • LOVE your videos!!

  • What kind of camera was tony using?

  • As always nice tips for us starting photographers. Can i suggests something? Can you make a video on how to use a light meter properly? More power thank you.

  • step back , then zoom in???

  • Great video explained in easy to understand terms. I will go and practice a few shots later. Look forward to watching more of your clips.

  • And iv you guys got 2 grand to spend, I personally find the canon 85mm 1.2 and zeiss 135mm f/2 to have jaw-dropping background blur,Though more affordable lenses like 85mm 1.8 and 135mm l are also nice 🙂

  • Variable Neutral Density filter really helps achieve the blur look when it's sunny.

  • tony you got a magical hand. u just click and photos are amazing.. they all look so special…

  •  @Tony Northrup It's amazing how helpful such a short video like this can help. I am new to photography. This gets right to the point. Thank you both, very much.

  • How much exactly is an "inexpensive" 15mm F1.8 lens?

  • 😀 nice one 😀

  • I've learnt too much from you guys and i'd call you my teachers. And apart from that one thing i love about you guys is your chemistry and mutual understanding. 2 bodes 1 mind! it's lovely to see you both always! God bless 🙂

  • Canon EOS 70D or Sony A77m2 ? Please help me tony 🙂

  • I'm a avid hiker and back county explorer (when I get the time) and I've been looking into photography as a way to bring a bit of my adventures home with me (not to mention as another way of appreciating my time outdoors). Honestly I have been turned off several times by how complicated some other "professionals" make beginning photography. THANK YOU two for not adding to my frustration! I really like your approach to explaining your craft and your genuine "bring ya along" attitude. Just so you know, I stumbled across your youtube channel a few days ago looking for gear and camera reviews ( trying to find the right one)and I have to say, I have learned more in the last few days of watching your videos than have have in the last 3 months of endless how to guides. Please continue you work! Not only am I learning, I am having FUN learning and that is all thanks to your amazing approach to sharing this beautiful art. Kuddos!
    I will definitently be recommending you to friends and family! Oh yeah, just purchased a few of your guides on Amazon and very much looking forward to reading them!

  • been watching a lot of your vids on dslr's..nice..your relaxed approach is easy to follow. have new nikon D3300 and relearning what i thought I knew from my …LOL…Minolta 101 …which i could manipulate without thinking….will watch your tutorials 😎

  • i used to automatically focus..say on persons nose…then pull in a skosh more…with low aperture and get subject absolutely in the back DOF… startin over…love it!

  • GreaT, thank you very much for teaching!

  • can we do the aperture method in sony hx400v

  • pls,pls,pls,plsreply

  • work*pls,pls,plsreply

  • Hello Chelsea and Tony… I came across your channel and am so impressed by all your work… For an amateur like me you guys are a total inspiration… I subscribed to your channel and also looking at buying your books on kindle … However I wanted to know if you could make a video of your desk and the gadgets you use to set up your desk… I would like to learn how you guys have set it up and learn the basics … Thanks and hope you do read and reply to my comment and acknowledge my request…. Cheers!

  • How to make the front subject blur and the back subject clear?

  • Hi Tony, Thx for the experiences you share with us
    I'm planning to buy D5500 but confused which Kit lens to buy. Here I have only these option 18-55VRII, 18-105VR, 18-140VR or 55-200MM f4-5.6 G and
    I wanna buy 50mm f1.8G. But is this lens has Auto Focus with D5500
    Or I can buy D5500 Body + 50mm 1.8G only ?
    I need this camera for hobby, family, holiday or general use.So please suggest me which two lens I shd buy.. Awaiting for your reply.

  • I'm really enjoying your videos Tony. Glad I found you. Take care.

  • Perfect! Thank you.

  • I love your videos, they are so easy to understand, kind of goofy but hey, that's how I learn best :). Thanks

  • How about the shutter?

  • What if i want to capture a fast moving car at 12am (night)?

  • thanks for explaining so well. you guys are the best 🙂

  • Awesome videos Tony and Chelsea, these really help and make me understand more about photography. Keep up the good work!

  • Hi Tony ! I really Like Your Videos how can i get your 12 Hours Prime Videos. i can pay you via paypal.

  • Your video series explains photography so simply. Thank you. I have no doubt your book is just as instructive so I've added it to my shopping list. 🙂

  • thnk u sooo much…really nice video..Subscribed

  • Hi, i recently bought the canon mark 3 5d and i got the lens canon 25-105mm f/4Ls with the kit.
    Please help me pick an inexpensive portrait lens and walk around lens for architecture and landscapes shots.

    Btw: Thanks for the video Tony and chelsea.

  • how many hours do i want keep my dslr in side the dry box?

  • Thank u soo much really nice video

  • Really helpful.

  • hi I'm using cannon 1300 D
    can u give me some tips on photography on it because I'm new for this ..
    I'm always face problem on setting when go to shoot in inside any place.

  • We love it

  • Great tutorial as always..thank you very much for uploading it..

    I do have a small question which might be a dumb one but I'm still new to photography..

    what causes the blurred background when zoomed in. It happened just as you said it would with my 18-135 IS USM kit lens which is even not a constant aperture lens. When I'm at 105 or 135 and even with a higher f-stop no., there is considerate amount of blur.

  • Big lens with zoom give me good bokeh

  • 📚 Buy Our Books on Amazon! 📚
    📕Stunning Digital Photography:
    📘Lightroom 6 Book:
    📙Photoshop Book:
    📗Buying Guide:

  • That is exactly what I've been looking for, thanks a lot guys. I acually knew about your book from an Amazon review which the writer recommended two books one of them was your book for beginner photography learners by saying they're the best books for beginners so far, and from watching some of your videos I can see why.
    Good luck

  • Man..I bought the Canon SX620..But it doesn't have the manual setting(aperture)..So cant get any nice blur?? Any tips pls…

  • This is so cringe

  • You two are so photogenic!

  • Thank you for showing these simple steps that I can follow:) I got a new 35mm lens and hopefully it can make my pictures look better

  • I wish that almost 6 years ago, I would have learnt this technique through your video
    Fantastic video 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  • Tony, please leave the modeling to Chelsea. Really

  • Camera Canon D1200 (T5), is it good enough for newbie?

  • What if you are doing an assignment for school, and you need to be on manual mode, I have a Coolpix P530 and I want to focus on one point, but no matter what I do nothing in the pic is focused. Plz belp

  • My D5300 has aperture till 5.3….Is there anyway to reuce it more for a good depth of field ?….Can you show us how ?

  • Thank you so much. I have much to learn. Just downloaded your book and I am excited to learn more.

  • so ultra wide makes the nose bigger and a higher focal lenght makes it smaller again. why is this working with tony only?

  • kinda wish this video had xmas music on in the background, some xmassy the setting and everything haha

  • But what about the shutter speed?

  • I'm wondering of a blurred background even matters. It's not something I even noticed before learning about photography. It would be so much easier to pick out a camera without worrying about it.

  • tony you cant judge a book by looking at a cover can I get a refund!

  • tony you cant judge a book by looking at a cover can I get a refund

  • You people are awesome!

  • Thank you! This is what I needed. Not one of those 15 minute videos that will only confuse you.

  • Could you please tell me which Canon Tony is using in this tutorial? Thanking you in advance, Helene

  • Can you do this with your Phantom 4 Tony?

  • Nice! Punching WELL above your weight there!

  • Great video thanks for that 📷

  • Thanks guys!

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