3 Tips for Pretty Background Blur

3 Tips for Pretty Background Blur by @gayle vehar via lilblueboo.com #photography

I love to blur the background of photos.  I am guessing it wouldn’t take too much time on my site to figure that out.  There is just something beautiful about a creamy smooth background or one with nice circle bokeh.

A nice blur to the background also helps set your subject off from the background.

Today I want to share 3 tips for getting better blur in your backgrounds.

#1  Aperture

To get a nice background blur to your images, you need an open aperture (and I guess you really need to know what aperture is so visit this post or this post to learn a little more!)  An open aperture is the main reason that I purchased my 50mm f/1.4.  Fixed focal lengths lenses, give you the option for more open apertures at a relatively small cost.

When I say open apertures, I am talking about apertures like: f/2.0 (a favorite of mine), f/2.8, or even f/3.5.  Anywhere in between those numbers will work as well.  The smaller your aperture number is, the more blur you’ll have in your background.

Aperture and Pretty Background Blur by @gayle vehar via lilblueboo.com #photography

My son in my kitchen.  You can’t see all the mess because of the nice creamy blur.

Lens: 50mm f/1.4  Aperture: f/1.8  Shutter Speed: 1/100  ISO: 500

#2  Zoom and Distance

If you don’t have a 50mm like mine, then then next best way to get blur in your background is to extend your zoom lens to it’s fullest zoom.  If you have one that zooms to around 200mm that is best.

You’ll ALSO need to make sure that there is some good distance between your subject and the objects that you see in the background.

Zoom and Distance for Blurry Backgrounds by @gayle vehar via lilblueboo.com #photographyLilacs.

Lens: 28-105mm  Focal Length: 105mm Aperture: f/4.5  Shutter Speed: 1/100  ISO: 200

#3 Speckled Light

To get the pretty circle bokeh (like in the photo below), you’ll need a combination of an open aperture or long zoom AND some speckled light in the background.  Speckled light can come from light filtering through trees, car headlights at night, or something shiny in the background (light reflecting off dew drops of the tips of the grass.)  If you start looking for light like this, you’ll find it all around.

Speckled Light and Blurry Backgrounds by @gayle vehar via lilblueboo.com #photography Pretty Circles in the Background.

Lens: 50mm f/1.8  Aperture: f/2.2  Shutter Speed: 1/125  ISO: 200

Hope this helps you get pretty bokeh in the background.

Happy Photographing!



  1. Sierra says

    Yay1 Thanks so much for finally talking about aperture! It is so confusing to me that I always just used the zoom method. I will have to try this out! Thanks again! :)

  2. says

    This is great information! I’ve been frustrated for some time about keeping my aperture at a low number, but my shutter speed high (didn’t seem possible). Then I discovered it’s all about the lens! So thanks for including your photo “recipes” with these beautiful pictures, too. That really helps!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. says

    Thanks so much for this… I too love a blurred background! I appreciate you sharing your secret with us… I am off to fiddle with my aperture… and start look for a new lens! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for posting! I’m actually running a Photography challenge for all levels so this would be a great post for them to read before the Blur challenge!! Thanks!