Ever wonder how to capture an image and produce a picture that is both sharp and blurred at the same time? Today the ladies at Ladybug Photography share how to achieving BOKEH in your photos!
Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality.” Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.
Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject using a lens at the widest aperture (smaller number) such as f/2.8 or wider. Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph. Use the bokeh effect to isolate your subject from distracting backgrounds so that the eye is drawn to your subject, it works great for portraits or just about anything that you want to isolate from the background.
In order to achieve this effect you’ll need to shoot the images in aperture priority (setting AV or A on your camera dial) and set your lens to its widest aperture or f stop (lower number). In addition if your using a zoom lens adjust it towards the telephoto end and this will enhance the effect more so than a lens set at a wide angle focal length. Also adding more distance between the subject and background enhances the effect.
Be careful with subject placement when your lens is set for this effect because the depth of field or area in focus is small. For instance if your taking an image of, let’s say two people, have then side by side next to each other rather one in front of the other, otherwise one of them will be out of focus.
The images below illustrate the effect and how to control it. They were all shot with a 28-70mm f2.8 zoom lens set at 28mm, 50mm and 70mm. One of the shots at each focal length was shot at f8 and the other at f2.8, and as you can see the bokeh effect increases as you extend the focal length and open up the lens.
Get the cameras out and experiment and have fun!
If you are using a smart phone camera, check out these bokeh apps.
- Vintage Bokeh
- Live DOF
- Big Lens
- Bokeh Booth
Hope all The South Shore Mamas out there have been enjoying your summer!
Marge & Natalie
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