What Is Bokeh?

What is bokeh in photography?

Bokeh In Simple Words 

Bokeh refers to the blurred background in a photo caused by being deliberately out of focus. For instance, in a portrait shot, the background is intentionally out of focus, creating a bokeh effect. 

A photo of a blond woman. The background is blurred.

How Can I Achieve Bokeh?

To create a blurred background, it is essential to use a wide Aperture. Set your aperture to f/2.8 and start experimenting. The wider the aperture, the blurrier the background will be.

You can make the bokeh even blurrier by positioning your subject close to the camera and distancing them from the background.

Bokeh And Portraits

Portrait photography benefits greatly from both bokeh and wide apertures. However, working with wide apertures presents its own set of challenges.

When you fully open the aperture, your depth of field becomes shallow, which can lead to an unfocused face. To overcome this issue, a useful approach is to prioritize focusing on the subject's eyes. The good news is, modern cameras often include a built-in eye-autofocus feature, making this process easier than ever.

A photo with bokeh and auto eye focus

Bokeh And Smartphones

To capture bokeh on your smartphone, switch your camera settings to ''Portrait Mode''

Bokeh on smartphones can be a mixed blessing. Unlike cameras with adjustable mechanical apertures, many smartphones rely on software to create bokeh effects.

Your smartphone analyzes the photo, identifies the subject, and blurs everything except the subject. However, since this process is software-based, there can be some errors, particularly around hair or small objects, which are the most common areas affected.


Bokeh offers versatility in both directions. You can frame a sharp subject with a blurry background, or have a blurry foreground and a sharp subject in the background.

Additionally, you can experiment with an out-of-focus foreground, a sharp subject, and a blurry background, all within the same frame. Feel free to experiment.

When Should I Use Bokeh?

Bokeh is useful when you want to draw attention to your subject. By capturing a sharp subject and a blurry background, you can emphasize the essential elements in your photo.

A photo with bokeh

In conclusion

Bokeh is the blurred background of a photo created, primarily, by using a wide aperture. 

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