The word bokeh is a Japanese term for the blur produced in the out-of-focus areas of an image produced by a photographic lens.

Bokeh has recently become popular among photographers because it can make images more visually appealing.

What Is bokeh effect

What Is bokeh effect?

The bokeh effect is a term used to refer to the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus areas of an image produced by a lens.

Bokeh has become popular among photographers because it can be used to draw attention to specific parts of an image.

The bokeh effect can be used to isolate a subject from its background in order to highlight a particular part of the image.

Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting — “good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively.

Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.

High-end lenses like those used for professional photography are able to produce images with very little bokeh, which allows for greater tonal purity and color accuracy.

This can be particularly useful when photographing images with high contrast, such as images that include both bright highlights and dark shadows.

Tonal purity enables these two different tonal ranges to be isolated from each other and viewed separately by the viewer.

An example of this is found in night photography, where the photographer seeks to isolate the image from the noise that is inherent in nighttime photography through methods such as long exposure time or high ISO sensitivity settings.

The ability to isolate these different tonal ranges is essential for night photography because it allows for greater details in both highlights and shadows.

What Is Bokeh?

In photography, bokeh has two meanings. The first is any out-of-focus areas of the image.

This is produced when the photographer uses a shallow depth of field, meaning only part of the picture is in focus while the rest is blurry. This type of bokeh is generally considered to be a desirable effect.

The second type of bokeh isn’t used as much as the first, but it’s still worth knowing about.

The second maning refers to lens aberrations that produce circles or starburst shapes in the out-of-focus regions.

Some people prefer this kind of bokeh because it gives images an unique appearance, but others consider it to be undesirable for artistic reasons or because it can reduce image quality.

Using different kinds of lenses can produce different kinds of bokeh, so you can use your camera’s lens to create images with different effects.

Bokeh can alsobe created using editing software after taking photos and through special lighting techniques.


Practical uses of bokeh effect

Bokeh is used mostly for artistic purposes. Sometimes you may want a bit of background blur so that the viewer’s eyes are focused on the subject. 

Other times you may want it to draw attention away from the subject altogether, as is what  happens in portraits where you want to focus on the eyes or mouth of your subject while throwing everything else out of focus.

Trying To Get the Bokeh You Want

There are two ways to achieve good bokeh: a wide aperture lens or using a shallow depth of field (DOF). A wide aperture allows more light to enter the lens but can be very expensive; a shallow DOF means that there is less of the photo in focus but can be achieved with a normal lens which may cost less.

How To Get Good Bokeh

One of the most beautiful qualities of bokeh is its soft and natural quality. The main objective in achieving this effect is by using a narrow depth of field to separate the subject from the background. 

This tutorial will teach you how to get good bokeh for your images.

Bokeh is one of the most captivating effects that can be applied to a photograph, especially portraits. It can make a picture look much more attractive and interesting, adding a sense of perfection to everything in it. 

Bokeh contributes towards creating a dreamy backdrop which gives the image a whole new dimension and depth.

There are many ways of achieving bokeh in photography and one of them is with the use of a shallow depth of field on your camera lens. To get good bokeh, you need to have your lens aperture open up as wide as possible so that you experience shallow depth of field.

What to Look for in a Lens

There are several different types of lenses available: fixed focal length (prime) lenses, zoom lenses, and macro lenses. Each type has its own characteristics and will help you achieve different effects.

One way to control the appearance of your bokeh is by choosing what lens to use for your shot. If you want large bokeh shapes, choose a wide aperture lens with a small f-number (like f1.8) and shoot at short distances from your subject. 

The closer you are to your subject and the wider the aperture, the bigger your bokeh will be!

For example, if you want a lot of background blur you need something quite wide. Normal zoom lenses will not allow this as they cover a large range from close up to far away, instead wide-angle prime lenses are ideal for this purpose.

What Lenses Create Great Bokeh?

Whether you have a DSLR or a point and shoot, you can take photos with shallow depth of field — also known as bokeh. It can be used to highlight the subject by making the background blurry or out of focus.

There are two types of lenses that can produce good bokeh: 

  • Wide aperture prime lenses — the best lenses for creating bokeh. They are typically more expensive and heavier than zoom lenses, but they allow for a greater range of movement; and allow you to blur the background more easily because there is a larger drop off in depth between the foreground and background. 
  • Tilt-Shift Lenses: originally developed for architectural photography, they have become popular among portrait photographers, as well, because they allow you to manipulate your depth of field easily. They offer a very narrow shooting range, so if you want to take photos with a lot of different subjects, it may not be ideal for you (although some photographers will use tilt-shift lenses in combination with other prime lense).

Bokeh Shapes

Bokeh is often used to denote out-of-focus light circles (circles of confusion) in an image. What you are actually looking at when you see these circles of confusion is the lens diaphragm, which is the opening that allows light into your camera to expose an image onto film or digital sensor.

All lenses have a number written on them. This number denotes the maximum diameter of the opening that can be created by the lens.

 The larger this number is, the more light will get through and reach your sensor. For example, a 50mm lens has a larger diaphragm than a 70mm lens.

Examples Of Bokeh

Bokeh is the blur and aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas in a photograph, and it can be used to great effect in portraits of human beings. It adds a sense of light and energy, and also gives a more three-dimensional feel to an image as it shows off the shape and form of your subject.

Trying to create bokeh in your images can take some time, but the results are worth it. Here’s how to get started:

Find something bright. The key to creating bokeh is finding a bright object to use as your background. 

Focusing on this will result in other parts of the image becoming blurred, producing that sought after bokeh effect. Experiment with different objects and try not to be too fussy about it.

Set your camera correctly. You’ll need to set your aperture as wide as possible if you want enough depth of field. 

The lower the aperture setting, the wider the aperture and the more blurry the background will appear behind your subject.

 You may have to move closer or further away from your subject depending on what focal length lens you’re using, but experiment until you find the right combination for you. 

Photographers Beautiful Bokeh In Their Photographs

Picture-perfect bokeh is often an effect photographers are trying to achieve. 

The bokeh effect occurs because of the way light behaves when it strikes a relatively large surface area or aperture, such as a camera lens or even the pupil of an eye. Depending on how the light rays strike and interact with each other and with optical imperfection in the lens, they may produce bright circles, rings, or other shapes around spots of light in your image.

Bokeh effects are commonly sought after for aesthetic reasons because they draw attention to specific parts of a photograph and can make them stand out from their backgrounds. If you’re not looking for this particular artistic effect, however, you may want to avoid it by shooting in low lighting and using smaller apertures.

Bokeh Backgrounds

Bokeh is something that most photographers spend very little time thinking about. Tonal variety is one of the most important aspects to consider when you’re editing photographs, and bokeh provides just that — a way for your image to maintain some amount of visual interest even though the subject itself isn’t very interesting.

The easiest way to illustrate why bokeh matters is to look at this photograph of a butterfly: 

This is a perfectly fine photo, but it doesn’t have any kind of interesting background. It’s just solid blue. 

Now, compare that with this one: 

This one has better background because there’s more detail.

The water droplets add a lot to the image, making it more visually appealing than the first one. If you look closely, you’ll notice how blurred the background is around the butterfly. 

That’s what makes this image stand out from the first one; there are more elements competing for your attention.

It will be simple with these tips! 

How Shutter Speed, Aperture, And Positioning Affect Bokeh

In many situations, this can be a great way to improve your shots. Determining when you need to use shallow depth of field to get the bokeh effect can be tricky because there are so many other factors at play.

TIP: I recommend you read my article on learning how to take better photos for more information on a variety of photography techniques

Bokeh is one of those things that looks simple on paper but is much harder in practice.

 If you want to get the bokeh effect, you’ll need a few things:

  •  A camera with a good lens — DSLR cameras are best because they make it easy to control the aperture and shutter speed, but if your camera doesn’t support manual controls at all, then try using an app like Camera FV-5. This app allows you to change your camera settings manually while recording video so that you can create videos with shallow depth of field. 
  • A good subject — in most cases, bokeh only looks good when your subject is near the center of the frame

Tilt-Shift and Macro Lens

Bokeh photography is often done with a tilt-shift lens and a macro lens. A tilt shift lens has very few elements within it, so it’s usually quite expensive, but it allows you to control the depth of field and aperture on both sides of the photo at the same time.

A macro lens is wide enough to cover most situations, but if you photograph a subject from less than 10 inches away, you don’t need to change your lens. 

The primary thing you have to know about bokeh when using these lenses is that the best bokeh occurs when the background isn’t too far from the subject or too much in focus.

When you’re shooting bokeh photos, remember that some people may be looking for something different than what you want. If there’s something distracting or ugly behind your subject, remove it.

Artificial Bokeh

So how do you get bokeh in your post-processed images? You can create a bokeh background by adding lights behind the object and taking a picture. 

This way, you will get different shapes and patterns. While it can be difficult to achieve in-camera, all you need is Photoshop or another photo editing program.

Making a Bokeh Background

If you want to create a bokeh effect around an object, use layers. 

First, take background images and lay them over one another as layers in Photoshop. Then, select one layer and erase parts of it using the Eraser Tool (E).

 You can use different tools for this purpose: brushes with different sizes or hardness, smudge tools, or rubber stamps.

After you have removed some layers from your photo, replace them with new ones using the same method as before.


For this tutorial, I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC but any other video editing software will do. If you don’t have a camera or access to one you can use a screen capture software like Camtasia. 

Now that you have your footage and your editing software you are ready for step two.

Duplicate your footage layer and place it on top (control + J).

You will notice that the first layer has a transparent background so you need to put black bars on your footage layer so you can see through to the layer underneath. Select an area on your screen and use the magic wand tool to select it (shift + W) then set your foreground color to black using the color picker tool (K).

Click in some areas of your footage layer then click delete (X) and repeat until you get an image.


Find something very close to you and get extremely close to it. If you are using a DSLR, set it on f/2.8 and as low ISO as it goes (typically 100).  

For iPhones, use Portrait Mode and play with the aperture setting until you have the bokeh effect you want.

I used an iPhone 7 Plus for this example and took this photo at 1.4 aperture with flash turned off to get maximum bokeh effect. 

This technique works better when there is something white or light near your subject like a wall or a flower petal or even snow. 

Taken at f/1.7 with flash turned on, this is one of my favorite bokeh images! 

You can take photos with or without flash, but I prefer taking photos without flash because it gives more depth to the picture and makes your pictures look better.