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Getting a Blurrier Background without Portrait Mode

Lesson 23 from: iPhone Photography & Mobile Photography

Philip Ebiner

Getting a Blurrier Background without Portrait Mode

Lesson 23 from: iPhone Photography & Mobile Photography

Philip Ebiner

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Lesson Info

23. Getting a Blurrier Background without Portrait Mode


Class Trailer

Course Introduction


Welcome to Class


Why Are Smartphone Cameras Awesome?


The Course Challenge: Capture Your Day in 5 Photos


Camera Basics for Mobile & Smartphone Photography


Intro to Camera Basics




Focal Length


Lesson Info

Getting a Blurrier Background without Portrait Mode

In this lesson, I wanna show you how you can get a blurrier background with your smartphone when you are not using portrait mode. So right now with most cameras and most modern phones, if you do have a portrait mode, it's doing that digitally. So it's not actually having a blurry background based off of the lens. That doesn't mean though if you are using that phone or if you have a different phone without portrait mode, you can't get a blurry background. Here are a few quick tips to get a blurrier background in most situations. Today, I have my buddy William here a globe because I need two things in my frame to share with you how you can get a blur. Your background. Bill here has been with us for a while. He was a, he was a major contributor to our photography master class if you're in that one. All right. So you see here that if I have William here with the globe and Bill here is standing right in front of the background, the background isn't that blurry? We're saying the globe here i...

s the background. So let me just take a shot So you can see that slightly blurry, but really most of it's in focus. So the first thing you can do is move the background away from your subject or move your subject away from the background. So if we move our globe a little bit further away and we still focus on Bill here, you can see that the globe has gotten blurrier. Another thing we can do is move our camera closer to our subject. So what we're doing here is if your subject is actually closer to the lens, it's not just moving everything away from the background further, that's going to help, but it's actually moving your subject away from the background and then a step further, moving your camera closer to your subject. What it's actually doing is it's the proportion of space between your lens and your subject is now really, really tight compared to that, the percentage of the proportion of the subject between the subject and the background is a lot greater. So you can see here the lighting is terrible. But if we are super close, we're doing sort of like a macro shot with Bill right here. Let me see if I can get on this side, if that looks a little bit more interesting. Just build. I now our globe is even blurrier. All right. The last thing that you can do if you have the option is switch to the more telephoto lens. So on a Ds LR or mirrorless camera where you have a lens that can zoom in, you can use this option to create a shallower depth of field. With my iphone 10, I just have two lenses, one is a wider lens, one is a little bit more telephoto. And with that two times lens, you get a little bit more blur compared to the one times lens. So here's the two times, here is the one times now, if we combine all of these to get the blur background, we can, let's put Bill right there. We are getting closer to him with our lens. He's further away from our background as possible. We're on our two times more telephoto lens and right there that's going to get the most blur with its standard phone. Now, not all your phones are gonna have all of those options in terms of multiple lenses, but those first tips of moving away from the background and getting your phone closer to your subject will get you a blurrier background. Cheers.

Ratings and Reviews


Definitely geared to beginners, but the class has a lot of good information. As an advanced camera photographer still trying to get to know my phone camera better, I learned a few things I didn't know (like you can use portrait mode for selfies, what hyper lapse is and the VSCO app). Nice job!


Good course for everyone starting out and needed to have some more basic info beyond the common snap shot. I had wished for more info on using mobile in the more professional field like when switching from camera to mobile. Additional lenses and flashes and things like that. But this course was obviously not targeted at this. So overall still a nice brush up.


Great class. Well organized and clearly presented. Would be very good for beginners and mid level users. highly recommend.

Student Work