"Ooh I love that pretty blurry background!"
Those were definitely my words before diving feet first into the world of photography. I didn't know what it was called or how to get it and sometimes I thought it was only an editing trick. Before I understood exposure and light, I still had an idea for what made a picture look "professional". In other words, less of a snapshot and more artistic. I wanted to DO that thing. It was magical.
That thing is called bokeh. Here's the fancy definition:
"..the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image.."
It's from the Japanese word for "blur" - neat, right? #wordnerd
Anyway, there's lots of ways to achieve great bokeh. I'm a firm believer that any lens and any camera can achieve it when used appropriately. In my class, Only Little Once, I do suggest purchasing a portrait lens to help create this effect. The "nifty fifty" or 50 mm 1.8 lens was my favorite learning lens and what started much of my photography journey. For roughly $100, it was one of the best investments I ever made.
My current favorite lens with it's creamy, gorgeous bokeh is the 85 mm 1.8. So versatile and fun! It rarely seems to leave my camera these days.
Rich, clean bokeh allows the subject to shine every. single. time.
And look at you, now you have a fun, shmancy dinner conversation starter! Everyone will be amazed when you drop the word "bokeh" - try it ;)