Have you ever looked at one of my images and thought, how does she get the blurriness in the background? Well, when I first picked up a camera, I thought the exact same thing! That blurriness is called bokeh, and it is a very defining part of my style. I may have shared this before, but when I first bought my camera, I thought to myself, “If I could just get a nice camera that could create blurry backgrounds, then I would be set!” I really had no idea what actually created the blurry backgrounds, and it turns out that it isn’t the camera after all, it’s the lens. It also turns out, that it takes a lot more than a nice camera to take a good photo! But I’ll spare you my thoughts on that for another day.
If your goal is to create bokeh in the background of your images, there are three things that you should keep in mind:
1. As I mentioned before, it’s not the camera, but the lens that creates the blurriness. With that in mind, it is important to know that lenses with low apertures are what you need. Typically, prime lenses have the lowest apertures, with some going down to 1.2 depending on the brand. For a little refresher on aperture, check it this blog here!
2. If you don’t have a lens with a low aperture, there is something else that you can do to help create the bokeh in the background. My trick for this is to have your subject as far away from the background as possible. The more distance between your subject and the background, the more bokeh!
3. The longer the lens, the more bokeh. Even if you don’t have a prime lens, you’ll get the most compression of the image when you use it at the longest focal length. This means that if you have a 55m-200mm lens, you’ll get the most bokeh in your image if you shoot at 200mm, even if the lens doesn’t have a low aperture. It won’t necessarily look as creamy as a faster lens, but you’ll still get some of that blurriness in the background of the image.
I hope you found this to be helpful! When I first started out, I wish I knew how to create the style of images that I wanted. Even though a fast lens may not be in the budget, at least there are a few other ways to achieve this look! However, if I were to recommend one lens, it would always be my 50mm 1.8.
For Nikon users, you can find it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Nikon-AF-S-NIKKOR-Focus-Cameras/dp/B004Y1AYAC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1487648609&sr=8-3&keywords=50mm+1.8+nikon
I promise, it will be one of the best investments you’ll make!