Fuzziness = Aperture

Probably the most frequently asked question I get is, "how do I get the background of my photos to look fuzzy?" Well, that fuzziness is called bokeh. and it's determined by aperture.

I think I've explained how a camera lens works before - but just to recap, a lens functions like your eye. Your eye lids are the equivalent of shutter speed. In bright sun light you blink a lot. Where was in a poorly lit area you might blink really slowly.

And depending upon the amount of light your pupils either dilate (in low light) or contract (in bright areas). To your camera it's called the aperture. The aperture opening is largest at low numbers (1.2) and lets in as much light as possible in low light situations.

Think about when you get your eyes dilated at the eye doctor's. Your vision is blurry for awhile because your pupils are wide open. And when your camera aperture is wide open at the lowest number, you get a fuzzy background - i.e. bokeh.

The best part is, once you get to know your camera you can control what's in focus and what's fuzzy. Let me show you.

In the first photo below, I focused on Allison's eyes. So anything on the same plane as her eyes are in focus (i.e. her face) but everything in front of (i.e. her hand and ring) or behind (the stone wall) that plane are out of focus.

In this photo, I changed my focal point. I focused on her ring. So her hand is in focus, but everything behind it is fuzzy.

The trick is to choose how your camera focuses - often it's a small square. Hold your shutter release button down half way until the camera focuses. While holding the shutter release down half way, you can re-compose the photo. I focused on Allison's ring in the center of my view finder. While holding the shutter release down, I moved my camera up a little to drop her hand to the bottom of the frame. In an attempt to follow the "rule of thirds".
Hmm... perhaps the rule of thirds will be my next informational post!
Happy bokeh. :-)