I get TONS of requests for a tutorial on bokeh. I live to serve!

Bokeh is the fancy photography name for the visually pleasing out-of-focus area in a photograph. You’ve seen plenty of pictures with it – the subject is in focus while the rest of the picture is a gorgeous blur. It emphasizes the subject, and makes the entire image visually pleasing. 

Any camera can take photographs with bokeh as long as they are in the right setting or mode. A point and shoot camera should be on the “portrait” setting. An SLR should be in Aperture Priority mode (or manual, but if you’re shooting in manual you don’t need my tutorial!).

If you’re shooting with an SLR, you need to use a low f-stop. A helpful trick to remember is that the lower the f-stop, the less in focus your photo will be. So if you have your camera set to f/1.8, everything but your subject will be blurry. Play around with the f-stop setting on your lens to figure out what f-stop is best for the image you want to capture.

Make sure you’re in a well-lit area (light is key for bokeh) and then get to snapping!

Pictures of people look great with bokeh:



Nature provides wonderful bokeh opportunities:


You can also get great snaps of details, and bokeh will help to emphasize them:


Get creative!


tree bokeh

Try focusing on the foreground in one picture, and the background in the next:

Tiny Annie Foot


Most importantly, make sure your camera is set to take photos at the highest resolution (or megapixel) your camera allows. Then, when you get a fabulous image, you can print it and it will look just as fabulous as on your computer. You can read more about resolution and how it affects image quality here, thanks to my fabulous photo partners HP.