Bokeh comes from the Japanese word ‘boke’, which means fuzzy. In photography, bokeh defines the quality of the blurred lights presented in a photo. We’re not referring to a badly taken photo that’s all out of focus, but rather the aesthetically pleasing background blur. Usually, this type of blur highlights the focused subject even more.
- HOW TO ACHIEVE NICE BOKEH (in plain English!) 1. Use the right lens. All lenses can create some kind of bokeh, but the REALLY nice, drool-worthy bokeh is from prime lenses with large apertures, like f/1.4 and f/1.8. Select a large aperture. The larger the aperture (the smaller the aperture number) = a narrower depth of field and more bokeh!
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- Basically, bokeh is the quality of out-of-focus or “blurry” parts of the image rendered by a camera lens – it is NOT the blur itself or the amount of blur in the foreground or the background of a subject.
- Bokeh is a subjective judgment of quality about the objectively out-of-focus areas of an image. Good bokeh doesn’t necessarily make a good photo. A boring subject with pleasing bokeh will still make a boring photo, the out-of-focus areas will just look decent.
Producing nice bokeh involves creating a shallow depth of field.
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Here are some tips to get you started with bokeh photography:
1.) Larger aperture works best, so use a low f-stop number like f1.4, f1.8 or f2.8. I like using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.835mm f1.4 for this project.
2.) Set your camera to aperture priority.
3.) You would need to set the shutter speed faster than 1/50 second. Any slower and I find the background lights getting blurred together, instead of rendering small circles. If it’s too dark, increase the ISO level rather than the f-stop number.
4.) The closer you get to subject, the better. If you’re using a zoom lens, extend it to the longest focal length.
5.) The further away the background, the better.
6.) Ensure that the background is lit. Glowing lights like street lamps and traffic lights work best. While a consistently lit background would just create a regular blur.
7.) If you don’t have a subject and want to create the bokeh effect with the night lights, manually focus your camera.
Get inspired by the photos below and show us your best bokeh shots!
Yuki-chan and the Bokeh by josh.liba
TTL by E-Rocks
The one with the red thread by dsevilla
Taxi by Al Fed
Sheep meadow by orangachang
Kulio’ou’ou by da_godfaddah
I wish I was special by irene gr
Heart by seyed mostafa zamani
Have a Very Bokeh Christmas by Brandon Christopher Warren
Burst of Life by matthileo
Blur of city lights by Yiie
Ashlin by matt caplin
Aeia Loop by da_godfaddah
Another Journey By Train by Steve Leggat
Bokeh Star by Maschinenraum
There’s sturdy chemistry between rising actors Maika Monroe (“It Follows”) and Matt O’Leary ('The Lone Ranger') as they enact this nightmare, but this is more than a relationship movie. Jenai (Monroe) and Riley (O’Leary) are in Reykjavik, on their first vacation overseas. Their first morning they wake up, the streets are dead quiet and everyone in the land is gone. In some rough line-reading, they exclaim the gist of “What’s happening?!” or “There’s got to be someone here,” but after Jenai can’t make contact with her mom back in America, it becomes apparent—for some reason, whether it’s the rapture or something else, they are alone in the world.
“Bokeh” refers to the aesthetic quality of blurriness in photos, so no anxiety necessary (like I initially had) about some supernatural force or Icelandic monster third-wheeling this apocalyptic situation. Instead, writer/directors Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan keep the story interesting by making it about their differing ideologies during such a phenomena, creating thoughtful characters who see the world as either half-empty or half-full. Sometimes they’re on the same page, as they go shopping during a giddy montage, or find romance outside in places that would normally swarm with tourists. But it all comes to a head when Riley takes Jenai (who constantly checks her email inbox, missing her family) to see the abandoned corpse of a crashed plane from decades ago. He, an optimistic photographer who loves his old camera and the ugly images it can create, thinks it looks cool. She, however, as a pragmatist with a previous background in religion, sees it as an insulting symbol of where they are now. “We aren’t looking at the same thing,” she despairs. That statement is always true for the characters as they clash and come to terms with the world (and its a good reminder for the lovers in the audience as well).
Halfway through, “Bokeh” pulls back on narrative and pushes visual poetry, revealing its ambitions. At its best, these scenes proclaim talent with their ghostly, empty settings and lovingly-framed cinematography by Joe Lindsay, as gliding cameras, whimsical voiceovers and light pacing create a gorgeous atmosphere where you insert yourself into the story, wondering what you’d do—and want to believe—in this situation. At their worst, these showy passages with twinkling pianos and harps are an obvious bid for a Terrence Malick comparison, as if raising the ante on the “Song by Song” maestro by excising the whole world population in the final cut, instead of just main cast members.