I am having a Nikon D5300 with 18-55 VR lens.

As this tutorial shows, it shows how to shoot portraits with blurred background. But, the background is located far off from the subject. Can I somehow do a simple setup in an indoor environment to shoot a similar picture (just for practice)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of How can I get dramatic shallow DOF with a kit lens? \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ How big (or small) is your indoor environment exactly? \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Jun 3, 2015 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Say 12ft*10ft room \$\endgroup\$
    – sherlock
    Jun 4, 2015 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


The variables

You need to play with 3 elements:

1) The max. aperture your lens can give. In your case it is like f4 or f5.6. That dosen't help much.

2) The focal length Use the longest one you can have. In this case 55mm.

For your equipment you are stuck on that matter. So the only option you have is to play with:

3) The relative distance from the object, the background and the camera

  • Try to take a photo of a close object. Lets say 40 cm. You will see that a far wall is out of focus. Blurry.

  • If you need to take a full hed shoot for a portrait the only variable you now have is the distance to the background. If you are shooting on a gym or a bathroom the blurryness will be way diferent.

You need a new lens

That leads to a point. If you want to make that bokeh in an indoor portrait. You need a new lens.

For a 50 mm lens you need a wider aperture than a 85 mm lens.

Some usual wide lens apertures are f1.8, f1.4 for a 50mm lens and f2.8 for an 85mm one.

You normally can't have thoose apertures on a zoom lens.

If you want a zoom lens, you need longer focal lengths. But that is not for indoors anymore.


Sherlock, since you have the kit lens and you want a shallow background indoors, there is not much you can do here. I am saying this because, one of the primary parameters for a blurred bg effect is the aperture value. The kit lens gives you max 3.5 and that's just about okay for this effect. So for indoors, try the following:

  1. Put your camera on aperture mode.
  2. Set your lens wide open at 18mm
  3. Now change aperture to 3.5, this is the max that you can go.
  4. Get as close to the subject that you can and find the right that sharp point.
  5. At this sharp point, when you take a pic, you will notice some objects in the far background are blurred.

Since you have just got yourself a new camera, I would recommend that you visit some online tutorials and get a good understanding of how Aperture, Shutter, and ISO play a big role in a photograph.

HTH, have fun.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is an interesting contrast to @Rafael's answer, which says you should be at the longest focal length. Could you (both!) add an expansion as to why you've suggested what you have? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Jun 3, 2015 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. In a zoom lens you normally have a slighter wider aperture on the small focal length. But this is not the only variable as I explained. A smaller focal leinght will keep a lot more things in focus than a longer focal lenght, which is not what we need. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Jun 3, 2015 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I suggested is not the only solution and neither is the perfect method. However, given the circumstances and the available gear, this is one of the options to explore the blurred bg effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – bbh
    Jun 4, 2015 at 5:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why 18mm? I'd have said 55mm \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18, 2015 at 11:42

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