One of the things that noticeably separate novices from pros is how the background looks. This is especially the case for portraits and close-up shots, which often look so much better with out of focus backgrounds. It effectively eliminates distracting elements and isolates the subject to catch the viewer’s attention. Not quite sure how to do that? We have just the right photography tip for you.

“If you don’t control the background, you’re not controlling your image,” says Jay P. Morgan in The Slanted Lens video above. To achieve this, he shares seven different ways to simplify the background so it doesn’t compete with the subject of your photos. The goal is to transform the background into a soft and uncluttered canvas. One of the tried and tested ways to do this is to use a large aperture to achieve shallow depth of field. Pair it with a 70-180mm lens and you can let the entire background fall out of focus easily.

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