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On day four of our Photography Expedition here in Peru’s Sacred Valley, our instructor, Efrain Padro, answered the one burning question we all had…

“How do I make the background of my photo blurry?”

His answer?  Count sheep.

Efrain’s tip for counting sheep is one that will help you remember your camera settings – specifically your aperture – when using a digital SLR camera. 

Aperture is measure in f-stops, and the smaller the aperture number, the more blurred your background will be.

So, if you’re taking pictures of sheep on the Peruvian countryside, think about the number of sheep you want in focus.  If you want just two sheep in focus, use a low f-stop like f/2 or smaller.  If you want twenty-two sheep in focus, think f/22 or a larger f-stop number.

Just remember:  the smaller the f-stop number, the fewer objects in focus.

Take a look at these two photos below.  The first photo below was taken with an f-stop around f/22, and the second photo was taken with an f stop around f/5.6.

blur your photo background - llama f22blur your photo background - llama f5.6

Here are a few shots we got at the Pisac Market while practicing these settings:

blur your photo background

Joann Waggoner

blur your photo background - Alyssa Terwal f5

Alyssa Terwall

blur your photo background - Soraya Van Asten f3.2

Soraya Van Asten

blur your photo background - Dawm Bauman f5

Dawn Bauman

blur your photo background - Alyssa Terwall f5.6

Alyssa Terwall

blur your photo background - Charlie Wollertz f3.2

Charlie Wollertz

When you blur your photo background, it cuts the clutter and removes anything that distracts from your main subject.  Remember, sometimes less is more.

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