Beautiful Bokeh: Examples, Tips and Tutorials

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke which can be loosely translated to mean ‘fuzzy’. It is used to describe the out of focus elements in a photo and the effect can be achieved by using a shallow depth of field. There’s much debate as to the true definition of bokeh, how it differs from background blur and whether it refers only to the out of focus highlights or bright spots but for the purposes of this post, we’ve chosen to keep the definition fairly broad. Here are a few examples from talented bubblers:

If you’d like to become a bokeh master, we’ve pulled together a few tutorials we’ve found around the web which should help you to get started. We’ve aimed to find tutorials which cover a number of differnt tips and techniques but there are many more tutorials available online so if you don’t find one to suit your needs here, it’s worth having a search for others:

  1. What is Bokeh?
  2. A little bit about Bokeh
  3. DIY – Create your own Bokeh
  4. Bokeh lens test
  5. DSLR Bokeh Tutorial
  6. Pocket Camera Bokeh Tutorial
  7. DIY Bokeh (Video)
  8. Taking Bokeh Photographs (plus how to achieve the effect using Photoshop)

If you’re looking for more inspiration or would like to find other artists who share your passion for bokeh, there are a number of related RedBubble groups including Bokeh, Depth of Field and 50mm Prime.

There’s plenty of subject matter that lends itself to this kind of photography but we’re always interested in seeing unusual interpretations or different uses for the techniques we feature on the blog. If you’d like to put aside some time this weekend to experiment with creating some new works we’d love to see what you come up with. Have you got any tips for achieving great bokeh? Are there any tutorials you’d recommend? We’d also love to see your favourite bokeh images in the comments below.