It’s Bokeh week over at The Pioneer Woman’s Photography blog so I thought I would join in on the fun.
First, what the heck is this bokeh you hear so much about on photography blogs, forums and websites? Bokeh is used to describe a certain camera lens characteristic. Bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke” which means fuzzy. Sounds like a strange characteristic for a lens to have, doesn’t it? Bokeh describes how the background looks when shooting with the lens at it’s largest aperture. A lens with “good bokeh” has a nice smooth looking but out of focus (or fuzzy) background. Lenses with “bad bokeh” have spherical or other geometrical shapes with hard edges which look bad behind a sharply focused subject in the foreground.
To get bokeh, you want to set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and change the lens you are using to its largest aperture setting. It will be the lowest aperture number. I know that’s a bit confusing but, trust me, it works. Another thing, the lower the aperture number the better the bokeh will be. Telephoto and long zoom lenses get bokeh starting around f/5.6. Shorter lenses like a Nifty-Fifty, a 50mm prime lens with apertures as low as f/1.2, really show nice bokeh.
Focus on your subject becomes extremely important as everything else in front of and behind your subject will now be out of focus or fuzzy. I tend to check focus a lot when shooting wide open as it’s called by photographers.