Want to know how to choose the right Aperture during your family photoshoot? Here are a few tips on what settings to adjust. I will pretend I’m using my Nikkor 24mm-70mm f:2.8 and NikonD850 for this example. If you want to alter the blur in the background, there are three things to consider:
- Distance to subject
1. Aperture: If you want a blurry background, you’ll want to keep your aperture wide (a lower number). How wide is too wide? I like to to blur my background a lot, so for families I usually shoot between f:3.2 and f:5.0 depending on the size of the family and how they are standing. For extended families I’ll even go up to 5.6 but that’s highest. For smaller families, if I’m low on light I can shoot even at 2.8 but I’ll make sure everyone is standing on the same plane like the first photo below. Be careful as you shoot, you want to find the sweet spot where your whole subject(s) is in focus, but the background is blurry. There are times when I shoot details where I don’t care if everything is in focus, but if I’m shooting a portrait, I want to choose an aperture, that will have the whole face in focus.
2. Zoom. The more blur I want, the more zoomed out I go. Background blur will be accentuated with longer zooms. For example backgrounds shot at f:2.8 and 35mm will be much less blurry than backgrounds at f:2.8 at 70mm.
3. Distance. If I want more blur, I get closer to my subject. The closer you are to your subject, the more the blur in the background will be accentuated.
Play around with all three of these and see what a difference it makes! I used all these techniques during this family photo session in Utah County.
Utah Family Photographers
Utah County, Salt Lake City, Park City, Utah