Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beautiful Bokeh - Part 3

100mm focal length, 1/125 sec at f/2.8

So, here's how to create beautiful bokeh backgrounds:
(See previous two posts for Parts 1 and 2 of this tutorial.)

1.  Look for just the right composition.  Look for a background that has softly dappled light peeking through interesting textures; or water droplets clinging to stems or other objects; or interresting reflections, or a combination of all three.  

2.  Find an angle where you can position your camera close to your foreground main subject and have the interesting background some distance away.

3.  For those who have a point and shoot camera, and just want to, hummm, point and shoot:  Put your picture mode to Portrait and experiment, and then change to Macro and experiment some more.  If your camera has the ability to independently change the aperture setting you will have better results.  Continue reading.

4.  For those who have a DSLR:  a fixed macro lens set at a large aperture, (small number), seems to work best for me.  I use a 100mm, 2.8 macro lens.  If you have a zoom lens, that will work, too.  Be sure to set it to the longest focal length and largest aperture, (see next point.)

5.  Bracket, bracket, bracket.  This means, put your camera in Aperture Priority mode and take many different shots, varying your aperture.  Each change of the aperture will alter how soft your background focus is, and will also change the size and softness of the bokeh, giving the image many different looks.  Then you get to decide in post processing, which one you like best.

The formula for achieving the look you want is practice, observe, practice, observe, repeat, repeat, repeat.  You have to become familiar with the possibilities and limitations of the lens you are using, and you also have to develop an 'eye' for the type of compositions that will create bokeh and will compliment your main subject.

For even more fun and more flexibility in creating your beautiful bokeh backgrounds, check back tomorrow and I'll talk about how post editing can be your best friend!   


Mersad said...

Also the really inexpensive 50mm 1.8 Canon lens gives you beautiful bokeh effects. Thanks for the tips!

Mersad Donko Photography

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful photo! Thanks for the information.

Sandra said...

thanks Karen, and that is exactly how i have learned about my camera, the best advice here is the line about practice, observe, practice, observe, repeat, repeat, repeat. that is what I did when i got my first camera in 02.. you have given me new things to think about and practice, observe, practice, observe, repeat, repeat, repeat with.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

This has been a nice series you've presented. Now if only I could remember to think about doing this while out in the field.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I am trying to learn from these posts.I may have to print out the instructions so I won't forget. said...

I really enjoy seeing your pictures but I'll probably never learn to do all the things you do to produce them.

diane b said...

The bokeh looks like it is in diagonal lines. That's cool. Love the colour of the background. Thanks for the tips.