What Is Bokeh
Have you ever looked at a photo and noticed the blurry background? That is called bokeh. This may not be an essential characteristic in photography, but it can make or break your shot. Read on to learn more about this often overlooked aspect of photography and how it can help improve your photos.
Bokeh is the visual quality of the blur in a photo. Bokeh is created when light hits an object from a single point or multiple points and creates a soft gradient from focused to unfocused. This can be used to make your subject stand out from its background.
Good And Bad Bokeh
Using the correct aperture and distance from your subject will help you achieve that blurry background. The blur can help define your subject and smooth out color transitions that might otherwise be distracting in your photo.
If you use a wide aperture, there is more likelihood for bad bokeh because too much depth of field makes it challenging to achieve this blurry look.
When you use a wide aperture, it is common for the lens to have a spherical aberration that leaves halos around points of light. This can look more like a noise than bokeh. However, if your background is not too busy, these halo effects may be very desirable.
The shape and color of the lighting in your photo will also change the look of the bokeh. The more defined your light source is, whether point or line lights, the more noticeable it will be in your shots. In some cases, this may work for you, and other times it might not.
Aperture Is Critical
Your aperture selection can have a significant impact on your bokeh quality. The further you are away from your subject, the more defined the lights will appear. A wide aperture with a short distance to your subject can make for some distracting backgrounds.
Aperture also plays a role in creating pleasing bokeh because of its depth of field capabilities. The wider the aperture you use, the shallower your depth of field will be. A wider aperture yields a larger out of focus area, which can help to draw the viewer’s attention to your subject.
What Objects Make For Good Bokeh
So what types of objects are best for creating bokeh? The answer is simple: objects that have a soft gradient from focused to unfocused. This means the object needs to be out of focus. If you use your camera’s portrait setting while shooting an object, it will be in direction but closer than the minimum focusing distance so it should still have an excellent blurry background.
Bokeh is excellent for adding interest to portraits as it smooths out the skin and covers blemishes, so your subject always looks their best. It can also be used creatively with many objects to make them stand out nicely from their backgrounds. You can use bokeh to bring attention to smaller parts of a photo or bring an artistic feel to your shots.
Using Bokeh Creatively
The best ways to use bokeh creatively are through aperture and distance from your subject. These two factors will significantly impact how soft, smooth, and out of focus your background is. Use a wide aperture if you want the experience to be very blurry. The wider the aperture, the larger your bokeh will be when it is in focus.
If you want to add a creative spin on things, use line or point lights in your photos that have a defined light source for more noticeable bokeh effects. You can also change up your distance from your subject and lens height to change the look of your bokeh.
How To Enhance Bokeh With Photoshop
You do not always have to wait for good lighting conditions to get an excellent soft background in your shots. Photoshop can enhance bokeh, but you must begin with good photos that will work well with this technique.
Open your photo in Photoshop and select the “Dodge” tool. You can also use a soft round brush or any other brush that you have available to soften the edges of the bokeh in your images.
Start with an S setting at about 15% opacity on your brush. This will give you subtle results in your photos. If you want more pronounced effects, increase the size of your meeting and set it to about 50% opacity.
If you increase the size of your brush too much, however, you will start to notice texture from the background area creeping into the highlights. This may be a good thing for certain shots, but if not – make sure to keep the size of your brush reasonably small.
Now begin brushing in circular motions around the highlights in your photo. The goal is to enhance and soften the bokeh effects while preserving a realistic look for your shots.
If you want to preserve more detail from your background, use a harder brush with a lower opacity. If you wish your bokeh effects to stand out more, use a softer brush with a higher opacity setting.
The result will be that the lights in your image will appear smoother and more out of focus than they were initially. Photoshop is a potent tool for post-processing images, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your shots.
Best Lens For Bokeh
If you are looking to achieve the best bokeh possible in your images, you will need a lens that can produce a very shallow depth of field. This means that the aperture blades inside the lens need to close down reasonably, the more significant tightly, so only a small area is in focus, and everything else is blurry.
One of the best lenses for getting a shallow depth of field with beautiful bokeh effects is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. This lens works so well because it has an aperture that closes down to just f/22 which helps to increase your bokeh effect.
Additionally, its focusing range starts at 0.45m which means you can get in very close to your subject and still achieve a lovely bokeh background.
The only downside to this lens is the price tag, but it is well worth it for getting stunning portrait shots. You really cannot go wrong with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.
If you are looking for something more affordable, several other lenses will give you incredible bokeh effects. These include the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G DX lens, the Nikon 60mm f/2.8G Macro FX lens, and the Sigma 50mm F1.
Advantages Of Using Bokeh
It can completely transform a background.
You can use it to draw attention to a specific element in the photo.
It creates an aesthetically pleasing image that has more depth and interest than a shot with a sharp focus throughout. Continue reading…
Disadvantages Of Using Bokeh
It can take away from an otherwise perfect shot if not done correctly.
Too much bokeh can make images look messy and unappealing.
The effects are often difficult to fully appreciate unless the photo is printed or viewed on a huge screen.
Bokeh is an exciting and somewhat complicated technique to use, but it can make a huge difference in your images if done correctly. To get the best results from this technique, try shooting with a lens with an aperture of around f/5-f/8. This will allow you to create beautiful bokeh effects without having to get too close to your subject.
If you want more defined bokeh effects in your shots, consider using a longer lens with an aperture of f/14-f/22. When trying out this technique, try different settings, angles, and lighting setups because every image will be other. It always takes some practice.
Q: How do I achieve bokeh in Photoshop?
A: There are several different techniques that you can use to create bokeh effects, but the easiest and most effective way is to simply find an image online that has the type of bokeh effect you want and copy and paste it into your photo.
Q: How do I focus my camera when using bokeh?
A: There are several different techniques that you can use to achieve this effect. The easiest way is to have your subject in the center of your shot and then move back so that they are the same distance away from the lens as everything else in the background.
Q: How do I add more bokeh to my shots?
A: There are a number of different techniques that you can use. The easiest way is to simply move closer to your subject while using a longer lens with an aperture of f/5-f/8. If you want more defined circular bokeh effects, use lenses that have an aperture of f/2.8-f/22.
Q: What is the difference between bokeh and shallow depth of field?
A: Bokeh is used to describe the aesthetic quality of the blur in an image,giant while shallow depth of field refers to how much of your photo is in focus from front to back.