Beautiful Bokeh

Some people refer to bokeh (BOH-kə) as the out of focus parts of an image. Others use bokeh to refer to the way a lens renders out of focus points of light. I use the latter definition. To achieve bokeh, where the out of focus points of light appear as diffuse circles or dots, you’ll need to shoot with a shallow depth of field. In the headlight photo above, I used a Nikon D3300 with 50mm lens and shot at 1/50 sec;  f/1.8; ISO 800. I used a tripod to keep the camera steady.

Your aperture (f-stop or “f” number) setting will affect the way the light points look. For example, the photo below was shot at f/5.6:

Headphone amp shot shallow depth of field
55mm; 0.3 sec; f/5.6; ISO 400

This is a picture of a tube headphone amp sitting in front of my computer. Notice the size and quality of the points of light in the background. Now compare it to the photo below, taken at f/1.8:

Bokeh demonstrated by headphone amp and computer
50mm; 1/200 sec; f/1.8; ISO 1600

Look at those light dots, quite a difference. I was able to push it even a little bit further with positioning of the amp and the camera:

Bokeh with headphone amp and computer build
50mm; 1/250 sec; f/1.8; ISO 800

Got any great photos that demonstrate beautiful bokeh? Share a link in the comments.

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Ethan Ruzzano Written by:

Ethan is a former musician and artist who is in love with being a dad. He balances his time between family, work and his other passions. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Casie and daughter, Olivia.

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