Bokeh……Boken…..Bokeeen…..Bokoow…. there are many different ways people say the photography term Bokeh which is properly pronounced BOH – Kay.
I’m paraphrasing here but it can be explained as the way that your lens presents or shows the out of focus points of light in your image.
Hover of the “+” symbols for examples of what is Bokeh and what is not Bokeh in this image.
In reality it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it or even how you can explain it. What really matters is how you can master using it and advancing your photography skills with Bokeh. The concept of Bokeh is relatively straightforward when looking at it from high level of thinking. If you put your aperture / (f-stop) to a lower number being anywhere between 1.2 to 5.6 depending on the limitations of your lens, then in logic you should be able to blur out the background and get that beautiful light Bokeh. The only problem is that in photography it’s not always that simple or straight forward and in this case, getting that rounded Bokeh you want will require some problem solving, light and aperture knowledge.
In this article i’m going to explain to you the concept of Bokeh and give you some
tips on how you can be the most successful when it comes to trying to achieve it in your images.
Now, one of the most important things to know is that, the Bokeh is a byproduct of having a shallow depth of field with light(s) in the background. You know, that area that is in the picture that is out of focus. If you do not know what DOF or depth of field is I strongly recommend you learn about that concept first. The quality of your DOF and the Bokeh is determined by the aperture you use and the kind of light you have in the background of your image.
You will notice that in this image there is a blurry background which is from having a shallow depth of field and the small lights that are in the background aka the Bokeh are bright orange and circular.
Camera Settings: ISO – 800 | f-stop – 3.2 | Shutter Speed 1/250
In the image below you will notice that there is no bokeh despite having a bright sun in the image. The lack of Bokeh is because of the lack of Depth of field and the lack of many different light sources. In order to get that bokeh you need many little light sources compared to just one light source.
Camera Settings: ISO – 200 | f-stop – 16 | Shutter Speed 1/125
In the image below you will notice that there is limited to NO Bokeh except for a little bit at the bottom right corner despite having a really shallow depth of field. That lack of bokeh is because there is really only one big light source at the bottom right. If there was a lamp that was on in the left side of the image then there would be a bokeh effect for each light bulb.
Camera Settings: ISO – 1000 | f-stop – 2.8 | Shutter Speed 1/500
The key thing to remember is that to achieve a bokeh effect in your image you need a shallow depth of field from a lower aperture (1.2 to 5.6) and many light sources that are further away and out of focus.
Thanks for sticking around and learning a little bit more about Bokeh. If you would like to have me post an article on a specific topic simply send me a message or leave a comment in the box below.
Thanks for reading. Be inspired and never stop taking photos.