lensball photography

Bokeh 101: How to Create Bokeh in Photos

Learn the best lenses and camera settings from Lensball and rock bokeh photography like a pro! Here is an ultimate, bokeh photography guide from Lensball.

Bokeh is a term used in photography that originates from a Japanese word. The term pertains to the background blur outside of the focus of your subject in photography. In fact, bokeh is literally a Japanese word that means ‘blur.' This out-of-focus effect is achieved when shooting with a speedy lens and the broadest aperture possible.

Bokeh is affected by a range of elements, including the equipment and lenses employed. Your camera's range from the subject has an impact on bokeh photographs as well.

Given that your equipment will have an impact on how the bokeh will look, it’s best to buy compact cameras and lenses that can aid you in making a proper bokeh. If you want handy options, there are available applications on the market both for your iOS or android to imitate this effect. Since a smartphone has a compact lens and sensor, it's a given that your equipment will be simple; therefore, you have limited opportunity to produce the bokeh effect properly.

lensball bokeh photography
lensball how to do bokeh photography

Achieving Bokeh: How to Do It

Is your camera fine enough to create a great bokeh effect? When shooting, keep in mind that there should be no irrelevant things close to your main photography subject. Stay keen and don't take pictures while distracted by other things. Your picture session should take place in a well-lit area, rather than one with a stark backdrop.

You can increase the distance between your subject and the background in your shots in order to get a more bokeh effect. For a great bokeh, leave adequate space between the camera and the subject. The rear will become increasingly out of focus the farther away it is. It will be even more apparent after you have set up your backlighting.

Setting Up: Bokeh Camera Settings 

The lens should be utilized completely, so you'll need to choose Aperture Priority or Manual as your camera setting. Aperture Priority will aid you in using the f/stop whilst the camera selects the shutter speed. You can opt for the Flexible Program mode and select the fullest combo of aperture and shutter speed.

It's crucial to get closer to your focus object when shooting with a limited-range lens. Moving from the subject of your shot is less of an issue if you're using a long-telephoto lens, such as one with a focal length of 85mm. It's usually a good idea to maintain the subject a safe distance from the backdrop despite the lens you're using.

People are popular subjects for bokeh photos. Portraits that are taken closely show off the bokeh effect perfectly. Elements in the great outdoors, such as flowers, are also a common focus for bokeh photographs. Streetlights or other things that have beautiful lights are frequently captured images that show a great sample of how bokeh brightens up photography. When these mundane yet dazzling objects are purposefully shot out of focus, they become gentle, mellow, blurred orbs of shining light.

Bokeh can add softness to an otherwise brightly lit photograph. Keep your eyes peeled for groupings of varying colors. Use this lighting technique to highlight your subject from the background. It allows you to utilize a not-so-photogenic background and make it usable for your image concept. The diffused blur helps to “highlight” the subject, not detract from it. Try to find recurring patterns of lights to build interesting blends. Your subject should also be lit in hues that vary from its surroundings. Whatever the subject is, it would stand out once placed in the center, especially if backed up with complementary colors in the background. Darker colors can be used to highlight a subject to balance the warm lighting behind it.

lensball bokeh photography camera settings
lensball bokeh photography and creating bokeh shapes

How to Create Stylish Bokeh Shapes 

The aperture determines the appearance of the lights. Plus, it's not that often that we find aperture with the perfect compatibility with our equipment. But, the good thing is we can alter how light reaches our lens by changing how it is focused. Hence, you can create custom-shaped bokeh filters for your camera, or you can also get a bokeh kit online, but for a much higher cost.

You don't need excessive technical acumen to be able to produce bokeh. To start your customized bokeh aperture, cut little shapes from black paper to form a bokeh lens. The filter should be placed in front of your camera's lens. To blur the lights, open your aperture as wide as possible and use manual focus to achieve this.

16 Lenses with Adjustable Bokeh

If you’re seeking lenses with adjustable bokeh, we’ve prepared a list for you to try:

  • Sony 135mm f/2.8 
  • Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS 
  • FUJIFILM XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD 
  • Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D 
  • Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED
  • Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR
  • Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f/2
  • Sigma 135mm f/2.8 YS
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART
  • Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS
  • Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
  • Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 MC Lens for Nikon Cameras
  • Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar ZF.2 Series Lens

The results — including the properties and abundance of bokeh produced in your photo — are determined by the depth of field (DOF) and aperture. As the DOF lengthens, so does the structure in the bokeh. Shallower DOF and a rounder bokeh are the results of adjusting the aperture wider. Trying out these lenses is best with Lensball as your subject, so get your own today so you can start practicing.

bokeh photography and bokeh camera lenses
lensball night bokeh photography

Night Photography: A Highlight on Bokeh 

Bokeh is one great concept in night photography because it lets you capture stunning images minus the excessive lighting. Apart from getting extra stunning backdrops, you also passively increase your abilities and creativity as a photographer.

Indeed, taking photos at night can be difficult unless you're using a highly specialized night camera. As it's dark, seeking a subject for your photos can be difficult. Furthermore, shooting without a decent light source will get you nowhere. But, fret not, there are still several techniques you can use to capture stunning images. One of these techniques is bokeh photography. Many nighttime photographers rely on this effect to create breathtaking images in the dark hours of the evening. It's not that difficult to create gorgeous swirls of light in your night shot, but you'll need to know a little about playing with DOF. As a result of being out of perspective, the light bursts will seem like scattered city lights from a distance.

Light bursts will be abundant in a big city with lots of tail lights as well as signs and storefront lighting. To capture images properly, it's not enough to just use a low f-stop; you'll need other techniques to make your light sources appear larger in the image as well. A shallow DOF can be achieved by having your subject extra close to your camera while having the lights in the background far from your focus.

Share Your Bokeh Photography with the World 

If you’re new to bokeh photography and want to tell the globe about your baby steps, we’re here to lend you a hand. Get a chance to have your Lensball bokeh photography featured by sharing it with our Lensball Photoblog Community! Simply upload your stunning bokeh shots and let the world see your perspective through the eyes of a Lensball. After learning how to do bokeh photography, you can now get creative by practicing it anytime, anywhere. Try capturing moving string lights, experimenting with city lights at night and the great outdoors. There's so much to discover, you just have to have the time and enthusiasm for it!

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Lensball Pro

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The Lensball Mount

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