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Not long until Christmas now, the temperature is cooling, days are shortening, hot chocolates on hand and the city is already wrapped up in beautiful fairy lights. When could you find a better moment than now to experiment the Bokeh technique?

From the Japanese word boke, that means “blur”, when we think of this technique our mind automatically goes to the out-of-focus points of lights in the background, beyond the areas of the image that appears in sharp focus.

There a few things to keep in mind when we are trying to achieve this effect.

Fast Lens: choose a lens that can reach the smallest f-stops, these lenses are called fast lenses.

Use a large aperture: The more you can open the aperture, the more blur you’ll have around your focal point and this will guarantee to get the perfect out-of-focus background for your bokeh.


Get Closer: Minimize the distance between you and the subject, the closer you get, the more the lens will focus closer and the depth of field will be the smallest.

Light it up: To make sure you get the bokeh in your image, your backdrop should have some light. Either artificial or natural.


Separate More: Depth of field doesn’t have to be harsh, distancing your subject from the background will make the transition from subject to backdrop a smooth line from sharp to out of focus, giving your bokeh a gentle touch.

Zoom In: Even though prime lenses are higher in quality, using zoom lenses can actually come to your advantage here. Zooming in to your subject will allow you to separate it even more from the background giving you a perfect bokeh effect.


Now that you have learned all the technicalities, we don’t want you to forget the most important part of all this process: having fun! Take advantage of all the Christmas lights, go out, camera on hand and train your eyes and mind to see things from a different perspective and transform any source of light in your next masterpiece!

And remember to send your pictures to our Bokeh photography competition.

bokeh photography competition December 2017

Roland Pokrywka

Professional photographer passionate about capturing the beauty of nature, landscapes, and travel —