The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


One of the blog topics that gets the most hits on a consistent basis is bokeh.  I have only written a couple blogs on the subject.  One was titled appropriately, I Like Good Bokeh, and I do.  Another blog, Rainy Night in Georgia does not mention the term -- but the photos in the blog are bokeh shots.

The shot below shows how most desire to use bokeh.  Your background is bokeh.  Bokeh is the way the lens renders out of focus points of light.  Typically it is a background of a portrait.  Here is my cat in sharp focus and the background is a rug.  I know it is a rug -- anyone else would not since it is so out of focus.  Not really 'points of light' but you get the idea.  The blur of the background sets off the subject/portrait.  Here since it is not really bright or light in the bokeh part of the photo -- it works as a good contrast to the brightness of the cat.  

Another interesting us of bokeh is to turn those points of light into a shape.  The photo below is made by using the creative aperture disc with my Lensbaby lens.  Obviously this is the heart shape.  I purposely let the tree branch be out of focus here to highlight the sunlight hitting the ice on it.  Those sunlight point of light made for excellent bokeh hearts.

The photo below is another where the bokeh is the subject of the shot rather than a treatment for the background.  This is taken with my Lensbaby also -- but instead of using the shaped aperture disc, it is with the regular circular disc.  

When I am making bokeh the subject instead of the background the photos are very abstract.  No one would know that the photo above is my Christmas tree -- it certainly does not look very Christmasy.  In fact I applied a color filter in Elements to tint this a little bit pink.  The regular color image was almost monochromatic.  My favorite lenses for bokeh shots are my 50mm (love that nifty fifty) and Lensbabies.


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