A street photo can have a lovely sharp look, where everything is in focus and frozen in time, but is can also be an imperfect image, a shaky photo that is made in such a way though that radiates dynamism and motion. The first type of Motion blur we will touch upon focuses on backgrounds and the other type focuses on the subjects, the people, etc.
This type of Motion blur can be achieved fairly easily as long as you have a steady hand or a lens that has Optical Steady Shot technology.
This type of Motion blur is more difficult as far as I am concerned because it needs good reflexes and a sharp eye. When you are in the streets at dusk or at night and you want to use Flash to add some light to your photos, you can do so in a creative way. The first option which is the default and most common in all modern compact cameras and above is the Front Curtain sync option. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. For photographers who use SLR cameras, AV or A mode determines whether all the photograph is in focus or part of. You can see what aperture your digital SLR camera is set at by looking at the back LCD screen for a F number. The letters AV (for Canon camera's) or A (for Nikon camera's) on your mode dial sets your digital SLR camera to aperture priority. Once you have AV mode turned on, you can change the f-number by rotating the main dial above the shutter button. The best way to understand how aperture works is to take numerous photographs with different f-number values and see what the difference is. It's also important to note that results from aperture settings can change from one lens to another.
All photographs shown on this page are taken with a Canon 400D (Rebel XTi) Digital SLR Camera.
Understanding how each mode works separately, is vitally important before trying M (manual mode). Go outside and photograph a close object where the background elements are far away in distance.
Download and open all 4 photographs on your computer and see the difference that can be seen in the background.
Yeah I blurred the jock into oblivion with my camera when I took the photo, so she won't go, "Wow! This may also happen often that you take a picture, only to later realize there's a disturbance in the background, or the center object could have been sharper.
Another way to focus on the object is to pan with the object as it moves, like a runner or a car. An easy way to get a simple blur would be to get a camera that has the Portrait Mode (colorful leaf on a branch), a special mode that automatically prompts the camera to give more focus on the subject. A wider aperture gives a smaller depth of field and a smaller aperture gives a wider depth of field, the depth of field being your area of focus. If the background is further from the object, a narrow focus from the camera lens will disregard anything that's too far out in the back, giving you an almost complete, incoherent blur. If the camera is closer to the object, the multiple objects in the background tend to cluster together and eventually blur. Another thing to be kept in mind is the background lighting and it's distance to the subject. Rain falling on the windows of a car (left) gives a paintbrush type of background, each stroke distorting the light that enters the glass. Before we delve into the practical application, it is important to understand the basics of aperture. Now with the tips above in mind, the single easiest way to achieve a blurred background is to shoot with a larger aperture (lower f-stop). If you are taking a picture of a group of people, you also need to be careful about the depth of field.
Once you understand the basic concepts of aperture and depth of field, you can try some really fun, creative things! You probably don't want a whole library of blurry people, but it is fun to get some creative shots along the way.
Jo Ann says:Aug 9, 2014I have a Canon SX510 (I know not expensive and limited in functions compared to an DSLR) but I do want to learn photography and how to use the mode setting. Most of us just set our camera’s to A or P mode and let the camera do all the shutter speed calculations.
The last type of blurry motion that we will talk about is achieved using the Rear Curtain Sync and your Flash.
Actually this is a Sony term, other camera makers call it other names, for example Nikon calls it VR. You don’t want to make the speed to slow, otherwise nothing will appear on your photo, just a smudge. Not just walking, something faster, maybe driving at a slow speed or riding a bicycle, something like that.


Instead of freezing your photos, you can use Rear Curtain sync Flash to make blurry images with plenty of motion.
If your camera has this option only, it usually just calls it Slow Sync Flash and that’s it.
Please check out this quick reference that will help you with your Motion Blur practices while doing Street Photography!
For example photographers can choose to have a sharp foreground and background, or they can blur the background. For instance if you're taking a photograph of a landscape, chances are you will want all of the foreground and background to be sharp and in focus. The display shown on your LCD may look different to this example, depending on the make and model of your camera.
So if someone says to you that you need to open your lens more, they mean to lower the aperture or F number. This is extreme to ensure you easily see the visual differences as you change the F number. To prevent this from happening, you will first develop the sense to use the camera according to the picture you want to take. This is a tough method and takes a little practice, but you end up getting a dynamic picture with a blurred background, accentuating the object's movement. It won't be as good as a blur on macro mode (like the dice on the right), but get your distances right and the background will go into a partial blur.
So, to get a blurred background, you need a lens that can give you a greater or wider aperture. You can get a better blur in the background if you zoom in on the center object, and the more you zoom in, the more the background gets blurred. For example, the sunlight bouncing off the girl's hair adds to the entire blurred background, while creating a bit of a contrast effect, with the sunlight to her left and the greenery to her right.Naturally Blurred BackgroundsThey are nothing but light dispersion created using fog or glass. Again, it's great to experiment when you're learning something, try to get a shot in macro with the subject in front of a naturally blurred background.
These shapes can also be manipulated according to your wish, you can use crosses, hearts, polygons or plain circles. In some cases, you may get those soft, creamy backgrounds but you will also have lots of photos with sharp focus throughout. Let your camera choose your Aperture or if you feel like being creative, do some tests in Manual mode with different Aperture values to see what happens. So, if you are going to try this type of Motion blur, make sure you have set everything right, you will not get a second chance to shoot your subject. If you want to shoot walkers, try shooting them while you are walking in the opposite direction at a slow pace. If you're after more technical details, Wikipedia already has a great article on how aperture works in photography. You may need to refer to your manual to find out how to change the F stop for your specific brand of camera.
Alternatively, if the aperture is a large number, say F22 then the lens diaphragm is smaller or more closed.
More importantly, when you view them on your computer take notice of how much of the photo is in focus. Therefore its important to experiment with all your camera lenses so you know your equipment better. Then and only then, will you fully understand how to use it when shooting in manual (M) mode. Expensive lenses can go as low as F1, where most on average will be able to shoot at around F4.
On a low F number, you should notice the background is very blurred, when compared to the main object that is in focus. You see a cute girl, and in an attempt to impress her, you take a really awesome snap of her, only to have a muscle jock in the background.
The other way is to keep the subject still while the background moves, like the New York traffic cop and the taxi.
Other things you'll need are a manual flash selection and a good optical zoom rather than a bad digital zoom. For a good zoom in, you'll need a lens with a high natural focal length, say around 50 mm.DistancesDistances are one of the important things to consider when you're trying to get a blur.
The background can also turn out smoother as the colors tend to spread and mix up together. You'll find yourself taking better shots by using just two or three tips!Prepare to learn photography the fun way!Simple and effective tips and techniques. The less distance between you and your subject (and the more between your subject and the background) the more blurry the background will be.
There are other times when we like setting our camera to S mode and adjusting our shutter speed the maximum possible speed, so everything is perfectly frozen at the click of our shutter button.
Once you are setup all you have to do is to wait for someone to walk into your frame and that is when you then take the shot.


Otherwise it should have a general slow sync flash option that should work for what you want, especially if there is available ambient light in the environment you are shooting. The mind-bender in my case was, I always got a blur when I wanted a still and a still when I really needed a blur. You can also get a better blur if you fill more of the frame with the object than the background.The Right CameraSmaller digital cameras can get you a blurred background, but it won't be as good as you might expect. If you own a simple digital camera or are trying to get a blurred background on a cell phone camera, the Macro Mode would be the best option for you.
The two distances that you need to take care of are; the distance of the center object from the background and the distance of the camera from the center object. This is more prominent if the background is in shades of the same color, just like the apple on the right. The child (right) looks on into what's not necessarily a blur to him, but the mist settling on the glass blurs the trees outside for us. Another trick while trying Bokeh is keeping your camera as close to the subject as possible and 'drops' of blurred light in the background.
I do all the above 95% of the times I am out shooting, because I feel that if my photographs are crisp, they are somehow better. Ok, maybe zoom blur does, but not in the way we want, because in zoom blur it is the focal length that changes, not the subjects in the photo or the position of the camera. To make your photo achieve the level of motion blur that expresses speed, you need to follow your subject with your lens at the same speed.
So, if you are shooting a moving subject with this option turned on, you will get a blur and a sharp image overlapped. Switch to the A Mode on your camera and try getting the same image with various aperture settings. Most of the times, this is true, but there are times when I do not do anything of the above and I decide to have some fun with my camera in S or M mode by setting my shutter to slower speeds.
This means that you must try and keep your subject always in the same exact spot in your viewfinder while it is moving. Start off with the first type of Motion Blur which I think is the easiest, then once you have mastered that, hit the streets trying to achieve cool motion blur effects using the second type of Motion Blur.
Another thing to remember is if you change the lens aperture settings, you also change the shutter speed.
Whatever your style, I hope you now have a good idea of how to get the right kind of blur that you want in your background. To blur the background and focus solely on your subject, you need to choose the aperture yourself. If you are not comfortable with holding your camera, put it on a ledge, or anything that is steady and press the shutter button while your camera sits motionless. Then, at any time you choose to snap your shot, your camera will freeze the subject, as if it isn’t moving and the background which actually isn’t moving will appear as if it is. This option usually works when there is some available light or if you have pumped up your ISO to 800 or 1600 for example so your camera can expose fast before your subject get’s out of your frame. Finally, once you have mastered the first two types and you have worked up some courage, pop out your flash or stick it on your camera, depending on what you use and start creating some awesome photos with Rear Curtain sync! The moving subjects will show up all blurry and your background, if done properly will be sharp, giving the feeling that something ethereal, something ghostly is moving in the photo. You just need to reduce the area of focus of the lens, so that anything outside it gets blurred. And if all else fails, do what I do; stand still, aim your camera, hope for a still and get a blur! You will need to practice with different apertures at different distances from your subject to achieve the desired sharpness.
By telling the camera to expose first and Flash later, you get your subject nice and sharp and the background goes all blurry. Blurred Backgrounds and How to Get ThemThere are essentially two ways to do this; using the camera lens and Photoshop. If you're using Photoshop, all you need to do is get the background in one layer and the object in another, and add the blur filter or the 'Smart Blur' to the background.
When using Rear Curtain sync, depending on your camera and sensor size of course use similar to the following settings.
If you want to accept the challenge to get the perfect blur, however, you need to use your camera right.Choosing Your Center of FocusBackgrounds blur according to how the center object holds itself according to the background and how you hold the camera to the object.
Use an f stop of 11 to get a narrow dof, turn off your Auto Focus and go fully manual, switch on your flash, activate Rear curtain flash sync, and set your ISO to 800. So, go to a place where there is enough light, extend your arm, pre focus on your hand and shoot anyone at an arms distance!



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