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Tips & Tricks

How To Take “Bokehlicious” Photos and Get Them Right Every Time

By Paul Faecks on May 24th 2014

Bokeh is a Japanese word that means blur. In photography however, it is widely used to describe the quality of the out of focus elements in photos. In this quick video by DigitalRev, Kai demonstrates how to achieve those sweet-looking Bokeh effects in your images.


Different cameras and lenses will produce different-looking bokeh. But unless you have a very bad lens in terms of bokeh, you’ll be able to produce beautiful blur effects.

Of course, you’ll need a lens that has a shallow depth of field to create unsharp bokeh effects. But as Kai points out in the video, just because your background is blurred, you shouldn’t forget everything you know about composition. A very busy background that has a distracting color to it will still keep your photo from being pleasing to look at. Even when it’s blurred.

Your background shouldn’t be way more interesting than your subject, too because the viewer’s eyes don’t know what to look at. For the same reason you should avoid bright, shiny things and lines crossing your frame in the background area.


You also want to consider that the image you see in your viewfinder can look completely different to your final image. By switching to live view you can easily avoid that problem.


What do you think about using blurring parts of your frame out to achieve a nice-looking photo? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

[via DigitalRev, images via screenshots]

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Paul Faecks is a portrait- and fine art photographer, based in Berlin. If you want to check out his latest work, you can do so by following him on Instagram or by liking his Facebook Page

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rich

    As a new and budding photographer, I feel like all the info out there tells you to open that aperture as wide as possible to get tack sharp images with shallow dof. That works beautifully a lot of times but I am learning on this long steady road that sometimes you don’t want or need that 1.8 (or 1.4 if your budget allows) to achieve the best image possible. I’ve learned this slowly and surely with film. I can’t wait to be proficient enough that I’m confident with my aperture and achieve the look I’m after with a few frames shot on a film camera. I feel like that’s the moment photography clicks.

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    • Dave

      Rich I don’t know who you are reading but rarely if ever will opening or closing the aperture produce a tack sharp image. As a guide line most lenses will produce a tack sharp image at 5.6 or f8. Even still there will be differences in the same lens when used in a full vs cropped sensor.

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