How to Wow Your Audience With Gorgeous Bokeh Photography (Easy, Easy)

Have you ever heard this word? dobokeh? What inspires you? So to soon deduce its meaning is almost impossible unless you know Japanese. Yes, what you hear, is a Japanese word that means blur.

What a clue I’ve given you, huh? The bokeh it is that, or in part it is simply that, blur quality certain areas of an image, and the effect achieved with it. It is extremely easy to use and the results are amazing.

Get ready because by the end of this article you will know all the secrets you need to get beautiful images with bokeh. Keep reading and I’ll explain it to you ;-).

What is bokeh?

Bokeh is the effect that is achieved when we work with very shallow depth of field. It is most noticeable when we add a repetitive, small, and bright element, such as Christmas lights, distant streetlights, car headlights, sunlit raindrops, and even the light that filters through the leaves of a tree.

Look at the following image and you will perfectly understand this photographic technique:

portrait with bokeh

Have you noticed how the lights that are closest to the area in focus (the girl), appear sharp and become dimmer (and therefore larger) as they move away from the area in focus?

They are very successful backgrounds with lights, and probably if you knew this term, you associate it with those scenes with colored lights blurred in the background. The colors of these “points of light” will depend on the color of the lights in question.

The bokeh It allows you to be highly creative, it is not only limited to some colored lights in the background, you can also artistically add them to your portraits, landscapes, etc., or work with other elements in the blur.

How is it achieved?

Perhaps at this point in your hobby you already know, or at least sound familiar to you, the concepts: “depth of field”, “diaphragm aperture” or “focal length”. If not, don’t worry, we’ll make a quick summary, and I’ll leave you a couple of links in case you want to go deeper into the subject.

depth of field

It is the area that appears in focus in the image. This can be a lot (for example for landscapes, where we are usually interested in everything appearing sharp and in focus from start to finish) or a little (for example to isolate a person in a portrait from the background).

The depth of field goes straight related with (and depends on) the opening


diaphragm opening

The diaphragm opening is what regulates the amount of light that passes through our lens to the camera sensor. It is located inside the lens and, by means of some blades or plates, it allows to modify the size of this hole through which the light passes, controlling, therefore, if we let it pass more or less towards the sensor.

When it comes to bokeh, how much the larger the diaphragm opening (low values ​​like f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2 of/2.8), greater will be the blur and therefore the bokeh.

Focal distance

is the distance between the sensor and the optical center of the lens (where the light rays intersect and are directed towards the sensor).

For practical purposes, to longer focal length, the closer we get to what we want to portray but we have smallest Angle, and on the contrary, how much less focal length have a goal, the more we will move away but the greater its angle.

Consider a 200mm lens versus an 18mm lens and try it with your kit lens if you have one. You see it, right?

Now, as usual, the focal length also affects other parameters such as depth of field (blur or bokeh). The longer the focal length, the greater the blur, and therefore, the greater the bokeh.

Distance between foreground and background

The further apart the foreground and background are, the greater the difference in focus between the foreground and background will be.

What types of bokeh are there?

You may be wondering what types of bokeh there can be. Well basically the difference lies in the quality of the lens construction and the results that are associated with a better or worse construction of the diaphragm.

I mean, the best goals are usually built with a increased number of diaphragm plates. The more sheets you have, the better the quality of the bokeh that they create; this one is more soft and blurred.

On the other hand, the poorer its construction, less number of sheets or blades form it and produce a very sharp or harsh bokeh and therefore of poorer quality.

Bokeh quality is determined by the number of diaphragm blades

As you can see, this number of blades or diaphragm blades is also an important element to take into account when buying a lens.

generalizing, kit goals, They are usually composed of about 6 sheets. Considering themselves good, those that are above 8 plates, although there are those that reach up to 11.

To find this information you will have to search the Technical specifications of your objectives, you will see that it says something similar to “number of diaphragm blades”.

For example, I will tell you that the king of lenses has 9, which puts it in a good range to get nice bokeh.

And if you want to know more about objectives, do not miss the mega guide that we have prepared for you.

Creative Bokeh Possibilities

In short, we have said that we can achieve the bokeh, either with high focal lengths, with big diaphragm openings O well separating the protagonist from the background.

The wide blur that we get using one of the previous ways will be bokeh whatever the background we have, but the most “resulting” bokeh are perhaps those that are achieved with background lights.

The creative possibilities of bokeh

You can start working on your bokeh by preparing your own homemade session with a few lights from the Christmas tree or similar. Here’s a great article that explains step by step how to get wonderful bokeh for portraits or close-up objects: Learn to master bokeh photography in 7 easy steps (method for clumsy).

However, remember that bokeh is the blur itself, so anything out of focus can create beautiful bokeh, it’s just a matter of experimenting and being creative.

I hope this article has been useful to you. If so, do not forget to share it on your favorite social network. Thank you very much and until next time 🙂

Photos courtesy of: Wikipedia,Vishal Banik,SalyasinCarlos DominguezGuilherme StecanellaUnder Creative Commons License