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How do I blur the foreground of an image?
I have found trying to photograph buildings/ statutes etc difficult when there are lots of people in the foreground as I don't want them taking the focus off the building- how do I blur them out of the image (and thus how do I blur the foreground) so that only the building is in sharp focus????.

I find blurring the background easy but the same is not true for the foreground..

Cheers...

Comments (14)

Reduce your depth of field: Focus and lock focus on the statue, use the widest lens aperture possible (select lowest ISO and/or maybe use ND filters if your camera will take them. ).

Otherwise for quick amateur work simply use the Photoshop blur tool like a brush over the area you want blurred, or for more detailed work use masks and layers..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #1

If your camera has a focus lock facility then use it by pointing the camera at say the top of the building where there is nothing in the foreground and locking the focus there. Then reframe your photo and take it. Increasing the aperture to F2.8 will reduce the depth of field but digital cameras have a fairly wide DOF so this does not always help particularly when focussing near infinity. On a really bright day a neutral density filter may be necessary in order to get a large enough aperture. This is a dialable option on the Canon G9...

Comment #2

A real dark ND filter combined with wide aperture will give a long enough exposure to remove the people. Apparently..

SCOTTNZ wrote:.

I have found trying to photograph buildings/ statutes etc difficultwhen there are lots of people in the foreground as I don't want themtaking the focus off the building- how do I blur them out of theimage (and thus how do I blur the foreground) so that only thebuilding is in sharp focus????.

I find blurring the background easy but the same is not true for theforeground..

Cheers...

Comment #3

I did some testing of an old 50mm f/1.7 on my Dad's K10D. The ruler (engineer's scale) was turned 20 degrees or so. There's about 2cm in focus, distance was about 2ft or a little less..

Quick sample:.

F/1.7, 1/30th Sec..

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'OOOOOH, they have the Internet on computers now!' Homer J. Simpson..

Comment #4

I think if you've got 'landscape' mode, it'll try to focus on far objects and blur whatever's in the front, no?..

Comment #5

SCOTTNZ wrote:.

How do I blur the foreground.

I find blurring the background easy but the same is not true for theforeground..

You can blur both foreground and background simultaneously by using a longer focal length (e.g. a 70-300mm zoom set to 100+mm), while getting in as close to the subject as your minimum focusing distance permits..

This works really well for informal portraiture in public locations (like restaurants), where you can have the flowers on the table (in front) out of focus, the subject in focus, and the people at the next table (behind) out of focus...

Comment #6

Care to tell us what camera? You will get more focused answers..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #7

If you really want to erase the people, what I should do is to setup te camera on tripod. Take several pictures at different moments, for example every 5 seconds a picture for 1 minute. You then have 12 identical pictures with people at different moments, so everytime there is another part of the building exposed..

After that, load 1 in photoshop, use the eraser on the people, then load another picture as a layer and move it to the background. There too erase the people in the visible area left and repeat that procedure until the whole picture is covered with all parts of the building. You can then resave that file and voila, you have a building without people on it .

VERY IMPORTANT is that you absolutely do not touch the camera or move it during the exposures. A remote trigger (infrared if possible) is the best way to shoot..

O and PS, meter the image, take a short shutter time (eg 1/100) and whatever aperture you like and LOCK THE FOCUS. If you don't do that you can get differences in lightning, and even differences in focus of aperture can lead to strange artifacts in the image like lines that do not touch, so you can see the 'holes' you cut out (partly fixable by fading the corners in or use a soft eraser..

My native language is Dutch, so please, if I say stupid things, just ignore them ..

Comment #8

Hi Scott..

Your problem is that more than likely you are using somewhat of a wide angle lens in order to get the whole building in the shot. Wide angle lens have lots of depth of field which makes it harder to get selective focus on things far away..

But buildings son't move but people usually do. if you can set the exposure for a longer shutter speed then anything that isn't nailed down will likely have moved somewhat during the exposure enough to render them blurry.'The moment you think your great is the moment you quit learning.'http://www.gawalters.com..

Comment #9

Trees and bushes (if there are any) will likely look soft unless there is NO wind whatsoever..

While not as time consuming as the 12-shot method described above, taking one long exposure for the buildings and a couple of shorter exposures for the trees and sky might not be a bad way to go..

But use layer masks instead of erasing parts of the stacked layers. Same results but more flexibility.Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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Comment #10

Cjnielsen_nz wrote:.

A real dark ND filter combined with wide aperture will give a longenough exposure to remove the people. Apparently..

Yes, that will do it...try 10, 30, 45, 60, seconds... at f/2.8-4...

The people may cause an interesting blur/streak though....See which one you like..I have never tried it, but "cjnielsen" jogged my memory on this old technique for city scapes where you will NEVER have a people free sidewalk or roads..

SCOTTNZ wrote:.

I have found trying to photograph buildings/ statutes etc difficultwhen there are lots of people in the foreground as I don't want themtaking the focus off the building- how do I blur them out of theimage (and thus how do I blur the foreground) so that only thebuilding is in sharp focus????.

I find blurring the background easy but the same is not true for theforeground..

Cheers..

Peter .

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Enjoy your photography images, even if your wife doesn't ! ;-(http://laurence-photography.com/http://www.pbase.com/peterarbib/Cameras in profile...

Comment #11

Ferry Heibrink wrote:.

If you really want to erase the people, what I should do is to setupte camera on tripod. Take several pictures at different moments, forexample every 5 seconds a picture for 1 minute. You then have 12identical pictures with people at different moments, so everytimethere is another part of the building exposed..

After that, load 1 in photoshop, use the eraser on the people, thenload another picture as a layer and move it to the background. Theretoo erase the people in the visible area left and repeat thatprocedure until the whole picture is covered with all parts of thebuilding. You can then resave that file and voila, you have abuilding without people on it .

An easier way to remove all people from the shot is to use a very high factor ND filter (say, 8 or 10x) and a very long exposure (need tripod). This way, the people passing by do not register in the shot. No photoshopping required...

Comment #12

It might work if you use manual focus, and f5.6, focus on the building, and all forground should bocah, works for me.

Http://s185.photobucket.com/...02/?albumview=slideshow&mediafilter=images..

Comment #13

I didnt'say it is THE sollution, there are more than one .

Only drawback with using heavy ND filters and long exposures is that the ND filter can affect the sharpness and the long exposure can give you noise. The long exposure washes out the people but they can get visible if there are lots of people walking around, because the subject is covered for long times. When you cut out the people you don't have that problem..

Every situation has several sollutions and it's just a matter of what suits you the best and how much time you would spent photoshopping the picture..

My native language is Dutch, so please, if I say stupid things, just ignore them ..

Comment #14

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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