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What is Bokeh?

As one of the most popular styles of photography, you'll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the bokeh style and how to achieve it.  Bokeh owes its popularity to the visual appeal and simplistic way of directing the attention to a particular portion of the image.  This is accomplished by blurring the remainder of the image, focussing solely on the main subject; perfect for city shots or portraiture.  

Let's get something straight though, bokeh is not caused by the blur of an image from moving, or blur that can be added afterwards; it's blur specifically caused by the way the lens itself is reacting with the light.  Since the effect is caused by the lens itself, the strength and appeal of the effect varies greatly from lens to lens, and tends to look much better with portrait or telephoto lenses.  Since a larger aperture will also reduce the depth of field, a telephoto lens with a large aperture will generally produce the most pleasing bokeh effect.  Generally in this case, the larger the aperture the better.  

Bokeh Effect

Bokeh itself should not be confused with depth of field.  Both can be used to compliment one another, but it's important to know the difference between the two.  

Although many would argue there's no such thing as bad bokeh, we'd argue differently on our end.  Ideally the bokeh should be used to isolate and highlight a subject, leaving a smooth and creamy background, with somewhat of a dreamlike appearance.  An example of a bad bokeh, in our eyes, would be when the transition from crystal clarity to creamy bokeh is too soft, and the surrounding image appears muddled, leaving little room to discern what the artist is intending for us to focus on.  

Bokeh Effect

We hope you take away from this, that bokeh can be a powerful effect when used appropriately.  It shouldn't be too difficult to achieve, so long as you ensure the subject and surrounding are sound.  

We'd love to hear what you thought of this blog post.  If you have suggestions or requests for future posts, please don't hesitate to let us know in the comments!

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