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Shoot-to-edit part two: 3 steps to creamier backgrounds

Hey photographers.

This is Fraidy Shimon from Peppermint Photography and The Editing Bootcamp with the second installment of Shoot to Edit. Last week we spoke about the four things you should keep in mind while shooting to make for an easier and more fun editing process. We also spoke about focus, concentrate, and some focusing tips.

This week, we're going to be talking about minimizing distractions. Now there are so many ways of minimizing distractions. The most obvious one is physically removing distractions. If you have anything in your background that doesn't help to tell the story or doesn't add to the story like a garbage can or a channeling fence or something else that you can move and it's moveable, move it. The second thing is to pay attention to your angles, sometimes just by changing how high or low you are, or if you're taking an image from the top and only seeing the floor, or if you even move from left to right a little bit, to not have something specific. For example, don't have a tree growing out of your subject's head or have power lines coursing right behind them. Right? All these things can really make a difference. So pay attention to your angles and physically minimize distractions. Now, my favorite way of minimizing distractions is by taking advantage of a shallow depth of field that actually blurs out the background.

So I'm sure you're asking, how do I blur out my backgrounds better?

Now there are three ways of blurring out your backgrounds. The first one is by using a lower aperture. So the lower your aperture is the shallower your depth of field is and the blurrier the background is. The higher the number on your aperture, the deeper your depth of field, which means the more is in focus and the less blurry your background is. So you want to make sure that you're on the lowest aperture possible while still getting sharp images. You still want your subject in focus, right? So make sure you're focusing your subject's eye and then use the lowest aperture possible so that you can blur out the background.

What else affects my depth of field? One is the length of your lens. So the longer your lens is, and no, I don't mean how long it is physically. I mean, the higher, the number for the millimeters, right? This is a 35 millimeter lens. It's going to show more background than a 135 millimeter lens. So the longer it is, the more the background gets blurred. This is called compression. So if you use a longer lens, for example, an 85 millimeter or 105 millimeters, a 200 millimeter lens, the longer it is the higher, the number, right? The more compression there is, the blurrier the background. You'll see, not only is the background blurrier, but you're actually also seeing less of the background. So it's less distracting. How does this work? When you have a 35 millimeter lens, it's a white angle lens. It's showing a lot of the background. So I'm seeing everything from this corner to the room, to that corner of the room. So even if I blur it out really well, I'm still seeing a lot of stuff. Now, when I use something like the 135 millimeter lens, I'm seeing much less of the background because it's so zoomed in that it's only showing me a small part of the background. And then that fills up the entire frame. So even if it's blurring out the same amount as my 35 millimeter lens, it's going to be less distracting because it's one little thing and it's filling up most of the screen. So I'm seeing less detail.

The third thing that actually impacts the depth of field and how blurry my background is, is how close the subject is to the camera in relation to the background. You want to make sure that the subject is further away from the background than they are to your camera. Your camera should be closer to the subject then your subject is from the background. That means that the closer the camera is to me, the more blurry the background will be. The farther the camera is from me the less blurry the background will be.

Now, here are the three ways to blur out your background more and get a really good creamy depth of field. Number one, use the lowest available aperture. Number two, use the longest possible lens that you could at that specific stage in your shoot. And number three, pay attention to how close your camera is to your subject in relation to the background. You want to make sure that you're always closer to the subject than the subject is to the background. All right, that's it, for now three amazing ways to get gorgeous creamy backgrounds and to minimize distractions. Next week we'll talk about light.

Make sure that you're on my list so that you get this email. You can sign up at Also, if you like the series and you want more of it, please let me know. So either reply to the email and let me know, or tell a friend and share this link, so that I can see more signups coming in and I know that you want more of this. Or, number three Google Peppermint by fraidy and leave a review. Tell me that you're on my email list. Tell me that you liked this video and I'll make sure to create more of them. That's it for now. And I'll see you next week.



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