- Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography
- Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
- DSLR Photography for Beginners: Take 10 Times Better Pictures in 48 Hours or Less! Best Way to Learn Digital Photography, Master Your DSLR Camera & Improve Your Digital SLR Photography Skills
Ah, bokeh. The wonderful ingredient that makes so many beautiful shots stand out. Even people with no training in photography know they want it in their family photos, even if they have no idea what it’s called. Most of them just want to “have that nice blurred background”. As you probably know by now, bokeh is the result of a few things that have to work together.
It’s easier to create bokeh with a longer lens, preferably longer than 50mm, but you can do it with a 24mm lens if the aperture is wide enough. Photography 101 says that in order to have a narrow depth of field, you must use the widest possible aperture. Anything wider than f/2.8 is ideal. For budget solutions, I always like to recommend the nifty fifty.
With that said, bokeh can play a very role in your photos, particularly in portraits. However, if you feel creative enough, you can experiment a few very interesting ways to use bokeh. Keep in mind that bokeh is not just about blurring the background. Those great looking bokeh circles you see in so many photos all over social media can be used to enhance your photos. They’re great as a background for a variety of commercial or season shots like Christmas portraits.
It’s important to note the lens you’re going use will determine the shape of the bokeh circles. I prefer round ones as opposed to those that mirror the shape of the aperture. As I’m a declare fan of bargains, I recommend old Russian lenses. Some of them are notorious for their incredible looking bokeh that works wonders in both stills and video.
Here’s a great video for your inspiration from Adorama TV with photographer Gavin Hoey demonstrating the creative use of bokeh.