March 2012
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Bokeh, what is it, and how to improve it – Part 2

Read the first part of the series on bokeh and photography here:

Tip 996 (Aperture blades and bokeh): The aperture opening in a camera lens is essentially a series of blades converging on each other, and opening to a certain amount depending on the selected aperture size (click to view the image). Now, if you have seen the photo, you will realize that the aperture opening is not circular, but is more like a polygon, depending on the number of blades. As the number of blades increase (as the lens gets better), the opening becomes more round and the bokeh becomes better. Cheaper lens have fewer aperture blades and hence the bokeh is more likely to be worse off than in better lens.

Tip 997 (Maximum aperture and bokeh): When you are shooting at maximum aperture, the lens is opened to the widest possible level and the opening is as round as it is going to be, and hence the bokeh is going to be as good as it can be. Of course, you also need to contrast this with the fact that at maximum aperture, the depth of field will be very short and hence the number of objects in the screen that will be blurred will be the maximum.

Tip 998 (Focal length and lens): The focal length of the lens has a bearing on the bokeh, with lens having greater focal length having a possibility of much better bokeh.

Tip 999 (Select the background): Since the bokeh comprises of the blurred part of the background, select the background with some care. Try and move around or select a background with some bright colors, or backgrounds that match the object in the photo. Try and select a background that looks pleasing.

Tip 1000 (Even blurs tell a story): Just because something is blurred does not mean that the viewers will ignore it. For example, when you are shooting portraits or urban scenes, people who are not in the focus area of the photo are still easily visible in the photo even though they are blurred. Getting their positioning right can add to the beauty of the image, or atleast ensure that the image comes out right.

DIY Photography Bokeh Masters Kit Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques Lensbaby: Bending your perspective

Videos on bokeh and photography from youtube:

The Bokeh Effect in Gimp & Announcement

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: Bokeh Effect (HD)

Bokeh Photography Tutorial

Lens Bokeh/Flare fx

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