Get Background Blur on 18-55mm Lens

Apr 2016

3 mins read

The 18-55mm is a very nifty lens. You can get great images with Nikon 18-55mm, even for those where you want to blur the background. The first thing you should understand is why do you get background blur in some images.

The defocus of background or foreground points in a photograph is all dependent on the aperture size of the lens.

Aperture is the opening in the lens where light enters the camera. Here’s something that you should know about apertures.

Aperture size, is measured in f/numbers and these are the various available aperture sizes in any DSLR.

So as you can see, the smaller the f/number, the larger the aperture size and the larger the f/number, the smaller the aperture size.

18-55mm kit lens

Aperture decides two factors

  1. Amount of light entering inside the camera
  2. Depth of field (background blur)

The larger the aperture size, the lens will allow in more light to fall in the camera and shallower will be the depth of field (everything in the background and foreground will get blurred).

The smaller the aperture size, the lens will allow lesser light to fall in the camera and deeper will be the depth of field, including the background and the foreground will be in focus.

Now that we have this understanding, let’s see how to blur the background using an 18-55mm lens.

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I did this on my Nikon d3300.

And here’s the trick

  • Extend the 18-55mm lens completely to 55mm
  • Keep a good distance between the subject and whatever is in the background.
  • Bring down the aperture size as low as possible. At 55mm, the maximum you’ll be able to open up is f/5.6. Here you can see how big this hallway is and how far are the things from where the model was standing.
  • Compose your shot, focus on the eye of your subject and click.
  • I shot this portrait using my 18-55mm.

    And if you see, this is how far the the background was from the subject.

    So, there you have it. This is the trick to blur the background on an 18-55mm lens.

    However, as a photographer, I would suggest you to invest in a 50mm prime lens, as you can do a lot more than just blur the background with it. Also, you can set the aperture size in the lens up to f/1.8 which is a very huge aperture allowing in a lot of light into the camera. This in turn helps you set very high shutter speed to get sharp images. This one is from my 50mm prime.

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