Jealous of photographers who somehow manage to always have lovely soft backgrounds, while foreground subjects are sharp and clear? Perhaps you’ve stuffed around with aperture, yet still failed to get a pleasing result. Turns out there are a couple more details you have to keep in mind if you want to master the art of bokeh.
As photographer Sheldon Evans explains in the video above, aperture plays the largest — but not only — role. You’ll want a lens that can manage f-stops such as 1.4 and 2.8 for the best results. Next up is the lens’ focal length, with longer delivering more blurred backgrounds.
However, this introduces another consideration: distance. Not only must you make sure the distance between the camera and subject is far enough — especially for long focal lengths — but your subject must be far enough away from the background so that they’re not blurred as well, or the background is too in-focus.
The concepts are simple enough, but you’re going to need to practise with your particular hardware to get the images you want. Hopefully these tips point you in the right direction, so at the very least you know what needs to be done.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
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