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Jakers038

Those high quality blured background photos

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm wondering, how do you exactly make those great looking photos where the background is blurred, so that you are really highlighted? Do you do that in Photoshop or do you need an expensive camera for that...or can you do it with a smartphone camera as well (Galaxy S7 in my case) ?

 

I live in a poorer area of the world and a flat one, so I don't really have any good backdrops, so those blurred photos could be great to use as an alternative, but I'm not sure how to make them and I can't buy a expensive camera just to make a few pics and then not use it anymore.

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Are you talking about a Bokeh effect?

You can pretty easily accomplish this with really any photo editing program, in most it is called (gaussian) blur.

 

This could also be done with a photo camera.


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its all about lenses on cameras.

It can be done in photoshop, but the quality on the final product can vary very heavily


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Minibois said:

Are you talking about a Bokeh effect?

You can pretty easily accomplish this with really any photo editing program, in most it is called (gaussian) blur.

Yes, but if I do it with a editing program, aren't there weird spots where for example a wall behind me is blured on my sides, but not blured in smaller spots around my head, neck,etc? Sort of like a green screen that isn't done correctly or something

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1 minute ago, Jakers038 said:

Yes, but if I do it with a editing program, aren't there weird spots where for example a wall behind me is blured on my sides, but not blured in smaller spots around my head, neck,etc? Sort of like a green screen that isn't done correctly or something

Oh, I thought you just want to blur an entire picture, not with someone in the foreground.

 

If you cut out someone properly you won't have weird artifacts, but it will look a bit weird, because some items should kind of blur into the foreground..

 

With enough effort, you could make it look great with photo editing, but if you want a really good result you'll have to photograph it like that.


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2 minutes ago, Jakers038 said:

Yes, but if I do it with a editing program, aren't there weird spots where for example a wall behind me is blured on my sides, but not blured in smaller spots around my head, neck,etc? Sort of like a green screen that isn't done correctly or something

so when recreating a depth of field blur on a photo with photoshop the final product depends heavily on the skill of the editor and the vision for the final piece.

 

If what you want is a simple single level  blur on a background with a relatively simple object, then its quite easy. simple zoom in on the object, create a selection around it and crop it to a new layer on top, then just apply a gaussian blur to the background of your desired amount. Then copy/paste the foreground object onto a new layer underneath the top layer and give it a tiny, tiny gaussian blur so it doesnt look quite so out of place. You just want a bit of edge blur around the object.

 

This often though doesnt still end up with quite the same quality as having just taken the photo properly with proper lens setup, because in those photos the background is rarely evenly blurred unless its a flat background like a wall or something. Normally it varies with distance from the focal point increasing or decreasing blur slightly, and you can detect that a bit.

 

if you really want a proper result with a complex background then you need to cut objects from the background dependant on their relative distance and blur them at varying levels accordingly, which is a LOT more work.


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3 hours ago, Jakers038 said:

I'm wondering, how do you exactly make those great looking photos where the background is blurred, so that you are really highlighted? Do you do that in Photoshop or do you need an expensive camera for that...or can you do it with a smartphone camera as well (Galaxy S7 in my case) ?

 

I live in a poorer area of the world and a flat one, so I don't really have any good backdrops, so those blurred photos could be great to use as an alternative, but I'm not sure how to make them and I can't buy a expensive camera just to make a few pics and then not use it anymore.

Typically, that's accomplished by the camera itself -- what you're seeing is a shallow depth of field where only a small amount of the scene is in focus.  Mirrorless and DSLR cameras are typically best at achieving this effect, typically due to support for large lenses with particularly shallow depths of field.

 

In software... well, many phones can get close through their portrait modes (your S7 won't have one, unfortunately).  If you're just looking to take the occasional head shot, that's all you need if you don't mind the occasional imperfection or correcting.  Adding it yourself, though?  That's hard.  Like others said, you'll likely have to use blur effects in creative apps like Photoshop, and it might be tricky depending on the subject (say, a person with long, slightly wild hair).

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heh I got a 50MM lens I can slap on my Canon T3i DSLR...focus on the subject and voila...instant genius like photo taken. Canon made it virtually idiot proof.

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9 hours ago, Jakers038 said:

I'm wondering, how do you exactly make those great looking photos where the background is blurred, so that you are really highlighted?

 

9 hours ago, Atmos said:

the final product depends heavily on the skill of the editor and the vision for the final piece.

 

apply a gaussian blur

This doesnt end up with the same quality as having just taken the photo properly with proper lens setup,

5 hours ago, nbrowser said:

heh I got a 50MM lens I can slap on my Canon T3i DSLR...focus on the subject and voila...instant genius like photo taken. Canon made it virtually idiot proof.

These guys hit the nail on the head. You can fake it, but people can tell because unless you spend a serious amount of time making it *perfect*, the small details are going to give it away.

Not to mention, if there are lights in the background, blurring them out will look NOTHING like what a proper fast lens gives you.

 

One of the best and cheapest solutions, as browser said, is to get one of the more afforable DSLRs and a fast portrait lens. The 50mm f1.8 from Canon is a great starter lens.

You can focus on making the picture great instead of killing your time trying to make Photoshop do your bidding.

 

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2 minutes ago, LyondellBasell said:

 

These guys hit the nail on the head. You can fake it, but people can tell because unless you spend a serious amount of time making it *perfect*, the small details are going to give it away.

Not to mention, if there are lights in the background, blurring them out will look NOTHING like what a proper fast lens gives you.

 

One of the best and cheapest solutions, as browser said, is to get one of the more afforable DSLRs and a fast portrait lens. The 50mm f1.8 from Canon is a great starter lens.

You can focus on making the picture great instead of killing your time trying to make Photoshop do your bidding.

 

That's the exact lens I have, the 50MM 1.8 non STM (it's a bit older), Canon literally calls it the perfect portrait lens for the money because it's reasonably priced yet can make the photographer look like a complete pro....with very little work needed. Sometimes the best surprises come from the not too pricey stuff.

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10 hours ago, Jakers038 said:

I'm wondering, how do you exactly make those great looking photos where the background is blurred, so that you are really highlighted? Do you do that in Photoshop or do you need an expensive camera for that...or can you do it with a smartphone camera as well (Galaxy S7 in my case) ?

 

I live in a poorer area of the world and a flat one, so I don't really have any good backdrops, so those blurred photos could be great to use as an alternative, but I'm not sure how to make them and I can't buy a expensive camera just to make a few pics and then not use it anymore.

The Defocus effect is heavily dependent on the absolute aperture size of the lens. (Example, an f.2 with a 4mm focal length gives a 2mm opening vs f.2 with a 50mm focal length giving a 25mm opening). Smartphone cameras lack the lenses to provide strong defocus/shallow depth of field without assistance. 

 

As for said assistance, feigned defocus from modern phones utilize some means to form a depth map (usually via dual cameras nowadays), and apply the blurring accordingly. (The blurring filter used is distinct from Gaussian, btw). As such a depth map isn't accessible outside of the camera app being used, it currently isn't possible to automate defocus in post, requiring one to do so by hand (something that seems quite labor intensive).

 

That said, if you can get ahold of a modified Google Camera app and sideload it, it's own Lens Blur mode will work with single cameras as it relies upon the user shifting the camera for the app to form the depth map. The results are decent (I've gone this route myself), though it occasionally trips up on brightly colored edges, requires quite a steady hand, and reduces the final resolution.


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Pretty much everyone here has nailed it; the easiest method to create the realistic background blur (or bokeh for us camera nerds) is to pickup a cheap Canon DSLR, and get the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. 

 

Trying to do it in post in Photoshop is extremely time consuming, and never looks real. Your time can better be spent on taking more photos, not editing in Photoshop.

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When looking for shallow depth of field, what you basically need is big entrance pupil diameters, close distances between camera and subject and a far away background. The bigger the diameter of the smallest glass element in a lens, the shallower the DoF. Since the f-number is directly dependant on the relation between focal length and etrance pupil diameter you have to look for "fast" lenses with big apertures (smaller numbers). The closer your subject is to your camera and the farther the background is away the stronger the blur.

 

Sensor sizes

In theory this can be acchieved with any camera no matter the sensor size. In reality you're limited by the available lenses. The difference in sensor sizes means that you have to use different focal lengths on differently sized sensors to acchieve the same field of view. A 50mm lens on a "full frame" sensor is usually referred to as a standard lens that gets sort of close to human vision (that's the theory, in fact it is sort of narrower than that; the lens has a field of view of ~47°). On an APS-C camera a 50mm lens has a narrower field of view and on a 6x4,5 cm medium format camera, those 50mm is a moderate wide angle lens with a wider field of view. The so called crop factor can be used to quickly calculate the equivalent field of view on a certain sensor size. APS-C for example has a crop factor of 1,5-1,6 (depending on the manufacturer). So in order to find the equivalent focal length of a full frame lens on an APS-C camera you divide the full frame focal length by the crop factor.

 

Classic portrait focal lengths

What does that mean? You usually use certain field of views for different applications. Portraits for example are most of the time being shot with focal lengths of around 80mm - 135mm on full frame cameras (so a field of view of ~28°-18°) on APS-C cameras you'll end up with something around 50mm - 85/90mm.

 

Why those focal lengths?

Why those focal lengths? There is one major and one minor reason.

 

Perspective

The major reason is the perspective. A lot of people wrongfully say that longer focal lengths compress images and wider ones are pulling images apart (visual depth wise). This is not true. When taking pictures of the same subject at the same distance with different focal lengths from the same point, you will end up (of course) with pictures that show your subject at different sizes. If you now cut out the image of the wider shot to get the same field of view of the longer shot the visual depth or "compression" will be identical. The reason for "compression" is your distance to the subject. The close you go the more perspective will be distorted. The wider the field of view the stronger this effect appears to be but on the longer lens you're only "cutting away" the more severly distorted parts. At those 80mm - 135mm on FF you have a good compromise of distance to your subject, less distortion and the right field of view. It's usually seen as flattering.

 

Apertures and what they mean

The minor reason is the fact that longer lenses have (often) glass elements with larger diameters which results in shallower depth of field. Let's compare two lenses: 35mm f/2 and 90mm f/2. Both lenses have the same maximum aperture but they are of severly differnt sizes and will deliver noticeably different depth of field. As mentioned above, the maximum aperture is the relation between focal length and entrance pupil diameter. For the 35mm f/2 this means 2 = 35mm / d and for the 90mm f/2 this means 2 = 90mm / d. The entrance pupil of the 35mm f/2 lens measures 17.5mm in diameter whereas the 90mm f/2 offers 45mm in diameter.

 

Crop factor and what it applies to

This relationship means you have to apply the crop factor not only the the focal length but also to the maximum aperture of a lens in order to get the equivalent field of view and depth of field on a different format.

 

If you want to ge the same field of view and depth of field of a 90mm f/2 lens on APS-C (crop 1.5) you'll need a 90mm / 1.5 = 60mm lens with a maximum aperture of 2 / 1.5 = 1.34. So you need a 60mm f/1.34 lens. Field of view and depth of field will be basically identical. 

 

This also means that the smaller your sensor and therefore the larger the crop factor the faster a lens has to be in order to acchieve the same depth of field compared to FF. At some point those lenses just don't exist or if they do they're prohibitively expensive. 

 

(Very) Long story short 

You can acchieve shallow depth of field with every camera. The smaller the sensor the faster the lens needs to be in order to acchieve shallow depth of field.

 

Do you have a camera with interchangable lenses?

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On 7/8/2019 at 4:21 AM, bowrilla said:

 

 

(Very) Long story short 

You can acchieve shallow depth of field with every camera. The smaller the sensor the faster the lens needs to be in order to acchieve shallow depth of field.

 

Do you have a camera with interchangable lenses?

Even a phone camera can achieve natural shallow depth of field, provided you focus about an inch away. 😛

 

I shoot with a Canon G7X Mark II (for all intents and purposes, pretty much the sibling of the RX100). While it can't blow out the background with impunity, with careful composition, said background separation can still be achieved via gentle blurring, and with a good background, looks pretty great.

 

fun fact: The 1" sensor form factor is ever so slightly larger than the Super 16 film that was common in 80's and 90's television.


The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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21 hours ago, Zodiark1593 said:

Even a phone camera can achieve natural shallow depth of field, provided you focus about an inch away. 😛

Sure, if the lens has an insanse maximum aperture, you could even go further away.

 

The mathematical approximation for calculating the DoF is: 

u: distance to subject

N: f-stop

C : circle of confusiong

f: focal length

D : diameter of entry pupil

 

DoF = 2u²NC / f² 

N = f / D

 

insert N in the equation and you'll end up with:

DoF = 2u²C / fD

 

The circle of confusion isn't stricly defined, there are many ways to express it and it is ultimately dependend on the the size at which you want to print/show your picture at. A very common definition is  d / 1500 where d is the diagonal diameter of the sensor but you can also use a definition that depends on the field of view and a Snellen-based definition of 30 cycles/degree and you'll end up with f / 1750. I find the latter approach very interesting because if you insert C = f / 1750 into the depth of field equation, it eliminates f entirely. The equation then looks like this:

DoF = 2u² / 1750D

 

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