Wednesday, October 14, 2009


At digital photography school, this week's assignment is Bokeh.

That's the blurry effect in some photos where the subject is crisp and sharp while the background is blurred.

Here's a long mp3 about pronunciation. I haven't made it through the whole thing yet. If you click that link, you'll hear a photographer discuss bokeh, complete with music. It could be a nice background while you're reading this post.

Try as I might, I always forget how to get bokeh, so I must torture my subject by photographing them over and over.

I like the bokeh in this picture, but Bailey's expression looks a little downtrodden to me!

Even the most highly paid models, sometimes get to take a break.

At the end of August, I struggled to get bokeh with this rose photo.

I also accidentally got this effect just last week.

Before I'd even heard the word bokeh, I accidentally got another example by shooting our dogwood tree looking down from a second story window.

I had a major bokeh fail on this shot. I wanted to blur the powerlines, cars and houses in the background and emphasize the flowers on this front porch. I knew one of the settings for the camera, but I couldn't remember what else to adjust.

The main use of bokeh is to blur a background to emphasize your subject. But another good use for crafters is to blur the background to hide something messy (which is a way of emphasize a subject - but it's also a way of de-emphasizing a mess.)


Leigh said...

"de-emphasize a mess" --- I love it!

Actually there have been times when I've wanted to do this technique but haven'at known how. Maybe I need photography school too.

Susan H said...

Cool! I should look this up too. I've had lots of power line annoyance lately, but mostly lines in front of spectacular sugar maples... not sure what to do about that!

"oroshjärta" said...

sweet dog! awh!

Delighted Hands said...

I've only done this by accident; I love your pics! (I think the skill to blur a mess would be real handy!)

Jennifer said...

Isn't that what art is about - emphasizing what you want and de-emphasizing the mess! Bailey looks great - I agree about his needing to be part of the blog - "The Daily Bailey"!

charlotte said...

Very interresting, I thind it's perfect for us crafters to be able to have a blurred background. I should probably go to photo school as well, because I don't know how to get bokeh.

Life Looms Large said...

I probably should have clarified that if you follow the link in this post to the post about the rose photo, I have more details about achieving bokeh. My details are kind of specific for my camera though. But you might be able to apply it to your camera.

Susan, I agree that power lines somehow don't register with your eye while you're shooting photos, then you get home and you see all these power lines. You can photoshop them out, but it takes time.

I haven't tried to really blur out my studio mess in any indoor shots.....but you can bet I'll need to sometime this winter!