Photo Journal

Learning All About Bokeh



I was asked to give a talk on Bokeh to the Camera Club I belong to which I accepted with great enthusiasm thinking it would be easy as I knew enough about it anyway.

Well…once I started researching the subject I realised that, actually, I knew very little from reading up various blogs on the internet. The more I read, the more I learnt.  Firstly, I am sure you all know this – or did you – that there is a  difference between Bokeh and Depth of Field but more often than not, because in both cases a shallow DoF (photographing at lower f-numbers) is required to get a blurred background, the distinction between DoF and Bokeh vanishes and the hobbyists and enthusiasts often end up using the terms bokeh and DOF interchangeably. Ref: Bokeh Vs DOF – The Difference Between The Two 

From this article (a good read by the way) I learnt very clearly why there is a difference and how knowing this can improve my own photographic subjects hugely. Further to that, I then saw that there is also what is considered  Good Bokeh and Bad Bokeh.

Bokeh is Bokeh, is it not? Well actually no, Bokeh is more about the beautiful aspect of areas around and or behind the focal point (your main subject) caused by light points that have been artistically blurred by lens adjustments (distance and a low f-number) to soft circular shapes  to become  the qualitative aspect of the photograph.

Bad Bokeh – far too busy and distracting                                 Good Bokeh – creates a fun effect

Depth of Field is set at a low f-number to blur out the background thus focusing only on the main subject – for example portraiture and flora – thus making the subject stand out beautifully. For this reason it hardly warrents being judged either bad or good as your eye will be interested only on the main subject standing out.

Showing pleasantly a shallow Depth of Field

Let’s put it this way, shallow DoF can be considered purely as the backdrop (as in a theatre stage) to bring out the subject, whereas Bokeh is the perfect lighting created as an integral part of the subject.

More to come later – hope you enjoy. 🙂

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