Visual Isolation – Blurring The Background

I love visually isolating my subjects with a creamy blurred background in a lot of portrait situations. To my eyes it’s a pleasing look and keeps the attention on the subject. But it also has a very practical aspect in the St. Louis and St. Charles areas where there simply aren’t that many backgrounds of interest.

Lee_and_Leah_1

It’s a technique that works very well for winter wedding portraits that would otherwise offer a visual mess of dead looking trees and colorless details. Here we see Lee and Leah from earlier this month at Klondike Park. Great spot, but still plagued by a winter palette in March. By letting the background blur away it makes out happy couple really pop in the photos while reducing the visual distraction of a million bare tree branches.

Lee_and_Leah_2

This kind of look is done in the camera by using the right lens. Most wedding photographers don’t use the kind of lenses that really blur the background this much. For all of these I used the legendary Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 lens with a four stop neutral density filter (kind of like sunglasses for the camera lens) to shoot in bright light and still blur the background. No other lens gives me quite the same look.

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