Bokeh – How to Achieve the Blurry Background Effect



When you’ve started photography, you may have heard of the term “Bokeh.”  But what is it, anyway? In literal terms, it is a Japanese noun that means “to blur.” For photography, it means to put a certain items or objects in a photograph out-of-focus. What does this mean in photography? It allows you to put your main subject in crisp, clear focus. So how can you achieve this technique in your photographs? Read along to know how.

Bokeh - How to Achieve the Blurry Background Effect

Achieve the Bokeh Effect in Photography

Step 1 – Take note that all camera lenses have a capability of achieving some kind of Bokeh effect. However, the levels of blurring are different. The aperture of the lens plays a major role in achieving really good background blur. If the camera can interchange its lenses, this effect becomes easier to accomplish. Prime lenses that have larger apertures, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8, can achieve really creamy, blurry backgrounds while the main subject is always in sharp focus.

Step 2 – The farther the background, the creamier the Bokeh effect will be. If you have control of the situation, try to situate your subject away from a wall or another object as far as possible. The resulting image will tell people of how far the background is from the image. If the next object from the main subject of the photograph is farther away, it will blur out more. Thus resulting in an image with good blurring of the background.

Step 3 – Always focus on your main subject. If your camera has a feature to select the focus on a specific subject on the photo, use it! For most digital cameras, this will appear as a box and it will turn green if the main subject will be in focus. Otherwise, it will turn red. For DSLRs, SLRs, and other cameras with greater ability to get better pictures, they have a more flexible feature to let photographers focus on a single point in their photograph while the background will blur.

Step 4 – You can also try and get as close to your subject to get really good Bokeh on your photo. However, make sure to still keep the essence of what you want to photograph. Getting close to your subject will allow your camera to focus on them properly; thus, this creates a better effect on the background. If you’re taking a picture of a person and you want the background to blur, try to get a portrait shot of their head or their face (if that’s what you want). Using large apertures, the background will blur out.


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Bokeh – How to Achieve the Blurry Background Effect
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