Bokeh What is it and how do I create it?

November 17, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great week! This week I want to talk about this funny word we use in photography, Bokeh. The term “bokeh” comes from the Japanese word “boke,” which means “blur” in English. And that's just what bokeh refers to. It's the quality of the blurry parts of a photograph. So why would we want part of the photograph blurry when we spent all this money on sharp lenses? LOL  Bokeh and the use of it can make a photograph visually pleasing. Everyone has scene this in portraits where the subject is in focus but the background is blurred out. But it can be used in other types of photography also. In landscape the main subject maybe a tree or a brook is in focus but the forest behind it is blurred. We can use this technique to isolate the subject in a busy scene. Maybe isolate a single sunflower out of a field of sunflowers .  So we have "making the photo more visually pleasing" and " isolate the subject" and there is one more use and that is to use Bokeh as a artistic aspect of the photo. I'm sure you have seen Christmas lights all blurred out making a artistic glow or water on a glass blurred out . So there are three reasons to use Bokeh as I see it. #1 visually pleasing, #2 isolate the subject #3 Used as an artistic item.

So how do we create Bokeh when we are out and about taking photo's? There are a few things that can control Bokeh and they can be used by themselves or in combination to create this effect. One way to control Bokeh is with Aperture .  The smaller "F" stop number the smaller the depth of field and the greater the Bokeh. Depth of field is the amount of the photo that is in focus. So the part that isn't in focus is the Bokeh. By using a fast lens one that has an maximum aperture of f2.8 or smaller can create great Bokeh. You can take a photo of a person and only the tip of their nose is in focus and everything else be out of focus. So the opposite can also be said the larger the f-stop number the more of the photo will be in focus. So f22 more of the photo will be in focus than f2.8. So Aperture is one thing that can control Bokeh. The next thing that can control bokeh is the type of lens used. The LeafLeaf longer the lens the easier it will be able to create bokeh. For example a wide angel lens say 14mm is almost built to make everything in focus and it is difficult to make things within the photo blur. On the other hand a telephoto lens say 200mm is built to isolate things and Zoom into something. These lenses are much more easier to make things blur in the photograph. Combining a low aperture with a longer lens makes it easer to make parts of the photo blur. The final thing that can help is being close to the subject will make it easier to blur everything else. So there are the three ways to create Bokeh. Aperture, type of lens, and proximity to the subject. By using these three things together and adjusting them you can control the Bokeh in your photo to make it more pleasing to look at , to isolate the subject or to use Bokeh as an artistic subject. 

Using Bokeh as a creative technique can make your photo's stand out of the crowd. Until next week Get out and Shoot!
 


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