How to Create Bokeh

Hi ya’ll! Today I’m going to share one tip for creating soft romantic images. One way is to blur out the background, and that is called bokeh. Just a fun fact; Bokeh is a Japanese term that means “out of focus!” That is going to help you create a blurry background. I’m going to share four quick tips on how to create bokeh in your images!

Type of Lens

Your lens plays a huge roll in creating bokeh! To do this the aperture will need to be wide open; I prefer using the 50mm 1.2 or 85mm 1.2. If you are just starting out and don’t have the budget for the Canon L series lenses, never fret! Canon also makes a 50mm 1.8 and a 85mm 1.8 that are also great. If you live near a camera store that rents lenses, you can also rent an L series lens to try out!

Focus on What You Want Sharp

For me, I photograph mostly people so that means a lot of faces! When I focus, my focus is going to land on the eye. If my subject is looking away, then my focus will fall on the eyelashes!

Distance Between Subject and Background

Distance plays a big part in how to create bokeh! Creating a blurry background you will want to pull your subject further from it. If they are on the same plain or relatively close, then the background will be more in focus. So pull them away from the background and watch the focus on the background soften!

Distance Between You and Subject

The closer you are to your subject, the more bokeh that will be created. This happens because the closer you are, there will be less for your lens to focus on. Similar to when you meter for backlighting; if your frame is filled with your subject, the more the background will fall off and be blurry!

I hope these 4 tips on how to create bokeh (or an out of focus background) helps take your portraits to the next step! Now get out there and practice these steps! For more photography tips, check out The Inspired Club. Here I share more in depth photography tips, videos on branding, and even my fitness tips, and so much more!

1 comment

  1. Dear Jana,
    I just watched your several videos about photography tips they are awesome and well explained. Unfortunately I do not owned a Canon as it was too big to fit in my handbag during my outfits photoshoots. Though I tried to apply your advices with my camera but some options seems not be available like on yours. Are parameters different on a Olympus E-M10II?
    Or is it about lenses? Mine is 14-150mm 1:4-5-6 II with Lens Hood LH-61C.
    I wanted to make a portrait with ISO 100, Aperture 2.0 but I can’t go lower than F4.0

    Sorry I’m a little green in photography (I will take photography class soon wit my fiancé) so I don’t really know all technical words.

    Many thanks for your tips.
    Kind regards,
    Pamela Carrera

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Jana Williams

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