Monday, February 7, 2011

What is Bokeh and How to Get It.

What is Bokeh?  It is the blur or haze in the background of a photo.  Look around and you will spot it everywhere.  NFL photos in the sports section often have bokeh so that the attention of the photo is on the player and not the busy surroundings. 

Bokeh is a preferred background for portraits.  It keeps the focus on the subject and makes the person pop in the photograph.

It is also a beautiful way to show of projects and décor.  I have seen it over and over on blog posts. 

Here are some samples of my bokeh photos.

I took this photo last summer.

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See how the flower is in focus, but the greenery and fence in the background isn’t.  It makes the flower pop from the photo. 

My dog in the backyard.

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Behind her is grass and fence.  You can make out the colors, but not any detail. 

This grapevine ball pops and you can kind of make out the English ivy inside the ball.

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This is my husband’s hand holding his glasses.  Behind him is our rock fireplae and carpet.  You can’t see it at all.  It is just a haze. 

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Here is an example of faux bokeh.  I used Photoshop Elements to create a blurred background around the car photo that I changed to black and white except the taillights. 


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It took the blah car photo to amazing car photo.  The trees and other cars down the street detract form the subject in the first photo. 

Picassa has a simple way to blur the background. 

On the Effects tab you choose the soft focus and you are able to choose a circular area to keep in focus and the rest is blurred. 


You can choose the size of the circle and the amount of the blur.  The circle limits you a bit.  I cant’ get my son and dog in focus while maintaining enough blur on the background. 


Here is the before.

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And with the blur from Picasa.

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I am going to do a separate post on how to get bokeh in your photos in a separate post that will go out later today or tomorrow. 

I really encourage you to understand your cameras whether you have a SLR or point and shoot.  I played with my point and shoot to day and learned how to use the manual settings.  It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it might be. 




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