So… what is bokeh? And how do I get it?


If you’re participating in White Peach Photography’s June challenge of a photo a day, you might have skipped ahead and noticed that on day 20 you have to shoot bokeh. Bokeh? What the?

Let me shed some light {sparkly light at that} on the topic.

In my non-technical terms, bokeh is lovely spots of light that appear in the area out-of-focus in a photograph. You can see them in the background of this picture I shot below. I achieved this by turning my camera to manual, setting the aperture to 1.8 {the smaller the number the more blur/bokeh you will get} and putting the little toy in focus.

Here’s a quick guide to creating your own bokeh.

As most people are using Instagram {and iPhones} for the 30 day challenge it’s much harder to get bokeh, unless of course you want to pay a price. I used the app PictureShow to achieve bokeh in the photo below and created a little bit of fun and obvious bokeh.

So there you go, that’s bokeh. Complicated and beautiful at the same time.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03869928507704160403 Kim-Marie

    Thanks, Chantelle. I've been googling it but all the explanations I found assume camera knowledge! Perfect explanation for gumbies like moi! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01556432714220385619 Amelia {Weddings, Babies… Everything}

    Thank you SO much for clearing that up! I had no idea on that one! :) xx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07986064844954940739 Megan

    And here I am assuming it was just an Aussie spelling of “bouquet”…hehehe, silly me! Thanks for clarifying! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03535445685736200717 Peachy Cheek

    Thanks so much for the nice explanation and I truly appreciate the app advice!!

    Take care!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03589243376326466266 Kellie

    I have an app on my phone (Android, not iPhone!) that has bokeh, never had a clue what it was, so now I know! Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02397398447336655195 Georgie

    I've always loved this look, but actually achieving it is going to be fiddly with my dinky little camera. I'll be doing a few practise runs for this one… gxo

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01955912299442971932 House of Prowse

    And I always thought that those specks of light in photos were spirits passed. Guess that is why there are so many skeptics.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16942233828384648968 Lou

    Hmmm – you've certainly made me think – I am a keen photographer and I always thought that bokeh, was the blurring of objects in the background but that they had to relate to the object that was in focus – like photographing a bowl of apples with only one of them in focus and the rest extremely blurred!

    Ho hum
    Lou :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11690280722837578327 Kellie

    I'm a bit obsessed with using bokeh!! Photos with blurred backgrounds always attract my eye for some reason. The two girls (the focus of my bokeh) aren't so impressed!! LOL!! ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10031604610383786151 Ali

    Hi Kellie, do you mind telling me the name of the app you're using? I have an android phone too and I was just coming in here to ask Chantelle if she new of any apps for non iPhone users! :)

  • http://www.twitchycorner.com Twitchy

    Hi Chantelle,
    I'm ok with most things on my iphone, but not how to do the Day #16 long exposure! New to iphone AND Instagram, so tell me, how do I get a non-phone pic onto it and/or Instagram?

    PS Also, reminder to please follow me back on Instagram? Thanks

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13784372242874393821 GSP

    Hey Twitchy,

    I'm with you. New to Iphone and Instagram and not sure how to shoot “long exposure” with my Iphone so using my SLR. But how do you loaded it to the phone? Hmmm, help please? Anyone? Anyone? Beuuuuulller?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15795276216564721099 Hannah

    Lou is right, bokeh the aesthetic quality of shallow depth of field blur, not the specks of light. You achieve it with shallow depth of field, but it has nothing to do with specks of light :)