How to achieve Bokeh effect - Photography

How to achieve Bokeh effect – Photography

Introduction

Introduction

Looking at the eye-catching blurry images online, have you ever wondered how the photographers achieved capturing such amazing pictures with the same type of digital cameras you use? Let's begin the course to explore the principle behind Bokeh Photography.

What is Bokeh Effect?

Bokeh (pronounced: “boke-aay” or “boke-uh” a Japanese term) is the out of focus or blurry areas of a photograph and make the subject stand out.

Examples of Bokeh Effect

Good Example

  • The Picture is clearly visible.
  • The background is blurred.
  • The Subject stands out.

Bad Example

  • The Picture is clearly visible.
  • The background is not blurred.
  • The Subject does not stand out, instead rest of all the background elements are seen.

Entering Skills

Before going into this module, you should be able to do the following:

1. Understand the basics of operating a DSLR.

2. Taking pictures using a DSLR.

3. Understand different types of lenses and its uses.


Below is the quick guide to refresh your memory on how to change the mode and aperture setting which is used for this module:

Step1:

Set the camera to aperture mode by turning the dial present on the top right of your DSLR camera.

Step2:

Turn the main dial to adjust the aperture setting.

Step 3: 

Look at the display to find the aperture reading. 

Aim of the course

Well in this module, we’ll look at few scenarios of capturing a picture with few important settings using a digital camera (DSLR) and understand how well you could achieve it by yourself. Please click on "Home" to go the next segment called 'Experiment'. 

Experiment

Experiment 1 -Try to figure it out:

Amanda wants to take a bokeh effect using a lego character as a subject placed on a table and with tiny bulbs in the background. The environment is dark. She is using a prime lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 50mm and close to the subject. The ISO is set to high. She changes the mode setting to ‘Aperture (Av)’ with f/1.8 (which is low) and captures a perfect picture.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

 

Experiment 2 -Try to figure it out:

This is Ron’s partially achieved bokeh picture. Ron also takes a bokeh effect using the same lego character as a subject placed on a table, with tiny bulbs in the background. The environment is indoor with dull lighting. He is using a prime lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 50mm to the subject. The ISO is set to high. He changes the mode setting to ‘Aperture (Av)’ with f/5.6 (which is medium) and captures a partial bokeh effect picture.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

 

Experiment 3 -Try to figure it out:

Stacy and Wi are out for a morning walk. Stacy wants to take a beautiful picture of Wi with a bokeh effect. The environment is bright since they are outdoor during daylight. She is using a prime lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 50mm and standing close to the subject. She changes the mode setting to ‘Auto (A+)’ with f/12 (which is high) and ISO to high. The captured image was not up to the expectation and hence it is a bad picture.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

Stacy Yes Prime A+ High 12 (High) Less Fail

 

Experiment 4 -Try to figure it out:

Stacy doesn’t give up and tries with different settings this time. The environment is same. She is using a prime lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 50mm to the subject. But she changes the mode setting to ‘Aperture (Av)’ with f/1.8 (which is low), ISO to low and captures a brilliant picture.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

Stacy Yes Prime A+ High 12 (High) Less Fail
Stacy Yes Prime Av Low 1.8 (Low) Less  Success 

 

Experiment 5 -Try to figure it out:

Alec wants to take a bokeh effect to a portrait shot of his friend. The environment is bright since they are in a park. Alec is using a zoom lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 200mm and standing far to the subject. The mode was set to ‘Auto (A+)’ with f/5.6 (which is medium) and ISO to low. The outcome of the picture is bad.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

Stacy Yes Prime A+ High 12 (High) Less Fail
Stacy Yes Prime Av Low 1.8 (Low) Less  Success 
Alec Yes Zoom A+ Low 5.6 (Med) Far Fail

 

Experiment 6 -Try to figure it out:

Alec this time used the same zoom lens attached to a DSLR Camera with a focal distance of 200mm and standing far from the subject. The mode was set to ‘Aperture (Av)’ with f/2.8 (which is low) and ISO to high. The outcome of the picture is perfect this time.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

Stacy Yes Prime A+ High 12 (High) Less Fail
Stacy Yes Prime Av Low 1.8 (Low) Less  Success 
Alec Yes Zoom A+ Low 5.6 (Med) Far Fail
Alec Yes Zoom Av Low 2.8 (Low) Far  Success 

 

Experiment Conclusion

Now that you have gone through different examples under experiment segment, Please go through the table once again to remember your discovered principle and test it over the practice segment. 

Please click "Home" to go back and select "Practice" to begin your practice examples.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO

Aperture
(f-stop)

Distance Outcome
Amanda Yes Prime Av High 1.8 (Low) Less

 Success 

Ron Yes Prime Av High 5.6 (Med) Less

Partial

Stacy Yes Prime A+ High 12 (High) Less Fail
Stacy Yes Prime Av Low 1.8 (Low) Less  Success 
Alec Yes Zoom A+ Low 5.6 (Med) Far Fail
Alec Yes Zoom Av Low 2.8 (Low) Far  Success 

Practice

Practice 1:

  • It's a fail. The distance should be far.
  • It's a success. All the settings are perfect.
  • It's a fail. The ISO should be low.

Kumar has recently started learning photography. He wants to experiment to take a bokeh picture of his pet Scooby. The environment is set indoor with dull lighting. ISO is set to high. The subject was placed closer to the camera attached with a prime lens of 50mm. The mode is set to ‘Aperture (Av)’ with f/1.8. What would be the expected outcome of the picture?

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO Aperture
(f-stop)
Distance Outcome
Kumar Yes Prime Av High 1.8(Low) Less ?


 

Practice 2:

  • Lens
  • Distance
  • ISO
  • Distance

Stella visited her aunt’s place and was surprised to meet their new pet Chika. Chika was so adorable that Stella started to take pictures. She wanted to try the bokeh effect that she had learned recently. She attached the prime lens to her DSLR camera and set the mode to ’Aperture (Av)’ with f/1.8 and ISO to High. The environment was bright since it was outdoor. She also made sure that the subject was closer (50mm). But the outcome was not great as she expected.

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO Aperture
(f-stop)
Distance Outcome
Stella Yes Prime Av High 1.8(Low) Less Fail

For the above scenario, which of the following settings were set wrong?
 

Practise 3:

Michael is a candid photographer. During the last Christmas, he took a picture using a DSLR with a prime lens attached to create a bokeh effect. It was a great success. Below is the picture. Now by looking at the picture, please arrange the settings:

  • Mode
    Av
  • ISO
    High
  • Aperture (f-stop)
    1.8(Low)
  • Distance
    Less
  • Outcome
    Success

Practise 4

Imagine you took a portrait picture in order to achieve bokeh effect. You used a Prime lens attached to the DSLR. The subject was asked to stand closer (50mm) and the environment was bright as it is outdoor. ISO was set to low and the mode was set to ‘Aperture’. With what focal length do you achieve partial and full bokeh effect pictures as shown below:

  • f1.8
  • f5.6

Practice 5:

  • It’s a fail because the distance between the camera and subject should be more.
  • It’s a success as the settings are set perfectly.
  • It’s a fail since the ISO is set to low.
  • It’s a partial success.

Joe takes a picture of his friend inside a well-lit sports museum. He used a zoom lens (200mm) to a DSLR camera with closer distance to the subject. He set the mode to ‘Aperture (Av)’ and set it to f/2.8 (Low). The ISO was set to low. What would be the outcome of the picture?

Name DSLR Lens Mode ISO Aperture
(f-stop)
Distance Outcome
Joe Yes Zoom Av Low 2.8(Low) Less ?


 

Practise 6:

Conclusion

4 Main Principle of Bokeh Effect Photography

1. Any DSLR camera should be switched to "Aperture (Av)" mode in order to take a perfect shot.

2. Basing on the light, the ISO must be adjusted. The intensity of light and the ISO are inversely proportional.

3. A prime lens is used for capturing short distance of a subject. A zoom lens requires the subject to be placed in a longer distance.

4. Lesser the aperture value, higher the bokeh effect.