• Bokeh Lesson

    Bokeh lesson written for @p52clicks
    Hi I’m Nina, from @bballgrl3, here to teach you about one of my all time favorite things about photography, which is creating BOKEH.

    3 ways to achieve “beautiful” bokeh effect

    Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. [1]

    Bokeh makes images more visually pleasing to its viewers. It helps draw attention to the subject, meanwhile providing an engaging out of focus area. People can’t create bokeh with their eyes. Only through a lens, you can create bokeh. You can achieve bokeh with almost any lens, but different lenses produce slightly different types of bokeh. For example, some create oval, perfect circles or octagonal shaped bokeh depending on the build and amount of blades each lenses have.

    1. Choice of lens

    To produce bokeh, ideally, you would need a lens that has an aperture of at least f/2.8. The wider the aperture, (the lower the f-stop number), means the blades on lens are open wider allowing more light to enter the lens. You can’t produce bokeh without having no light and no out of focus area. Shooting with an aperture of f/1.8 will provide a good amount of out of focus areas and also allow more light to enter the lens than shooting at f/22. At f/1.8 the out of focus points of light will produce your bokeh. At f/22 most likely your entire image will be in focus making it nearly impossible to achieve bokeh. With a wide lens such as a 35mm with a low aperture of f/1.8 or better, you will include the background and bokeh within your image. If you want more depth of field and bokeh you would need to keep your subject fairly close to the lens while having a good distance for background. For longer lenses, such as a 135mm, you’ll be able to easily achieve depth of field and bokeh without having to be under someone’s nose or worry too much about keeping your aperture as low as it allows.

    My all time favorite focal length lens for producing “beautiful” bokeh is the 50mm. I love that it can easily achieve bokeh wherever there is light and it provides just enough depth of field so my viewers can get a sense of the environment the picture was taken in.

    All of these were taken with a 50mm lens with an aperture of f/1.8 and lower

    2. Choosing a background

    Choosing a background is CRUCIAL. Since bokeh is produced by how the lens renders out-of-focus points of light, you must go and find light. Whether it is street lights, light reflecting off of cars, water, rocks, leaves, light coming through branches, or artificial light, each source of light helps create “beautiful” and unique bokeh. I always keep background in mind. A lot of people usually stand in front of something such as a tree trunk, a wall, or a statue when want their picture taken. As a bokeh enthusiast photographer, that’s never a great idea. I always search for light and open space/distance to get “beautiful” bokeh and depth of field. Incorporating an abundance amount of bokeh around your focus area can help tell the story of your image and also add charisma to it.

    Find a bokehful background to surround your subject
    Using bokeh to tell the rest of the story.

    3. Get creative

    There’s many ways to use bokeh besides just having it in the background. It can also be in the foreground or in both the foreground and background. You can also play with colors. Water on windows with light, and string light around your lens, can provide some creative fun bokeh as well. So have fun shooting wide open in different light and background situations to create “beautiful” bokeh.

      Creating bokeh all around your subject makes the photo more charismatic.
      [1] Ono, P. (2007, April 5). Photo Guide Japan/Photowords. Retrieved from