Bokeh is a Japanese word referring to the quality of the part of an image that is not in focus. In particular, it refers to the intentionally blurred background of a photograph.
How to Get Simple Bokeh
There are some simple steps to follow in order to achieve this effect. First, you need a large aperture value (for example, f/2.8, f/1.8 etc. the lowest the number, the largest the aperture). This will create a short depth of field and a very nice blurred background. But it isn’t always necessary to go for the largest aperture your lens can offer. Try different values and choose the one that gives you the most artistic result.
Putting some distance between your subject and the background helps to blend the colors of the background like an Impressionist picture. You can have whatever objects in the background. It wouldn’t matter anymore. The trick is to have your camera close to your subject and the background as far away as possible.
Bokeh and lights
But Bokeh became famous when the photographers thought of using lights as background. Christmas lights, street lights, candles, it can be any source of small lights. Taking a Bokeh picture with lights in the background will transform them in round and diffuse spots. Magical, they say. Then the photographers got really inventive and change the round shape made by the lens. They use special Bokeh kits. The shape of the blurred light can now go from the simple round shape to a snowflake shape.
Do it yourself
It isn’t really necessary to buy a Bokeh kit. After all, it is just a set of plastic covers for your lens with a cut-off in the shape of your dreams. Instead of adding more plastic to the Planet, put your kids at work and make your own Bokeh kit. You will need paper (black preferably), scissors, and a drawing with the model you want (heart, star, snowflake, figurines, anything really, depends only on your kid’s talent to crop). Cut the paper in the size of your lens. Cut out the model from the paper. Stick the paper to your lens with duct tape. Your Bokeh kit is ready.
Doing Bokeh is a special job. You are doing it for a special moment, a special person, a special place. If you don’t put your heart in it, the magic will be gone. Choose the proper model from your Bokeh kit and immerse yourself in the picture. Pay attention to your subject, too. The focus must be on the subject. With a sharp subject, you will have a 3D effect that will tell an entire story. Bokeh is actually about stories, feelings, emotions. Choose a colorful and bright background and mix the colors until perfection.