I remember reading a blog post about how to achieve “Bokeh” in your photos last year when I first began this journey. At the time, I was completely overwhelmed with photography definitions, terms and information; I was struggling with figuring out the exposure triangle, what it meant, and how one element affected the other two. I feel a bit more comfortable in my photography skin now, and on a daily basis I read blogs and articles related to photography; I peruse other photographers sites and photos. While viewing a fantastic example of “Bokeh” in a photo this morning, I came to the realization that I have yet to intentionally create “Bokeh” in any of my own photographs. I suppose it surprised me because it’s an awesome effect, and one that I’m really quite fond of (a brief explanation of “Bokeh” follows).
Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality.” Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.
Although bokeh is actually a characteristic of a photograph, the lens used determines the shape and size of the visible bokeh. Usually seen more in the highlights of a photo, bokeh is affected by the shape of the diaphragm blades (the aperture) of the lens. A lens with more circular shaped blades will have rounder, softer orbs of out-of-focus highlights, whereas a lens with an aperture that is more hexagonal in shape will reflect that shape in the highlights. Beautiful bokeh can be used as either the subject, or the background, and in my experience and opinion, it really looks great either way.
With “blur” on my brain, I set out today to create a whole lotta “Bokeh”…
“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph…” Leon Levinstein