Creating the Bokeh Effect in your Photography

Creating the bokeh effect in your photography is something that every new photographer should learn how to accomplish. This effect gives more attention to the subject of the image and creates a soft background for it to lie against. To create this effect, you should have a lens with at least an f/2.8 aperture. Faster lenses with apertures of f/2, f/1.8 or f/1.4 are perfect for the bokeh effect.

Bokeh Effect by Flickr CC Vikramdeep Sidhu

After selecting the correct lens, your camera will need to be set to a mode which allows you to shoot with the lens wide open. Manual, Aperture Priority and Flexible Program mode allow you to set the aperture. To get the best results, photos need to be shot with the widest aperture and shutter settings, but the effect can still be achieved with a slower lens. A slower lens can be used to create the bokeh effect by increasing the distance between the subject and the background. By increasing the distance between the two, apertures as small as f/8 can still be used for this effect.

Increasing the distance between your subject and background is a useful technique even when a fast lens is used. Decreasing the distance between your camera and subject can help create this effect as well. A shallower depth-of-field causes the background to become less focused which increases the chances of visible bokeh in your images.

Bokeh Effect by Flickr CC gronman

Using this technique can be useful when you need to add softness to your photographs. The bokeh effect also allows you to separate the subject from the background in situations where the background may not be ideal. This focus on the foreground allows you to turn what could be a harsh or unappealing background into soft, diffused orbs of light which highlight the subject and help the viewer focus.

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