you truly need specific lenses that have the ability to shoot "wide open" (which means to use a low f-stop). I shot this picture in manual mode using my 50mm 1.8 lens (very affordable!) at f/2.
Oh no, don't get discouraged! My Wednesday posts are geared toward those who want to get some great snaps, but mostly shoot on auto mode.
So maybe you can't get the totally blurred-out background, but you can still do something super easy to make it less sharp.
Let's say you see a beautiful flower bush or something and think to yourself, "Ooh, I sure would love to get a picture of Susie in front of that." So, you put her right in front of it and get a picture that looks something like this (but hopefully with a more willing subject than my little model on the right):
There's nothing wrong with this, but you can see all of the detail of the plant behind them.
Now try moving Susie several feet in front of the flowers. The further you can move your subject away from the background, the less sharp the background will become. Do you see the difference?
(By the way, I shot these two pictures using my auto mode, so nothing fancy was done here.)
Even better, put your subject well in front of the background, and then use your ZOOM! I don't have an example here (so you should try it and then share your example!), but doing those two things will give you the best results and you can create pictures that "wow"!
Have fun, try it out, and let me know what you think!