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Useful Tips on How To Create Stunning Bokeh Effect in Photos for Beginners

Summary: This is a post on useful tips to help you create a stunning bokeh effect in your photos and how to add beautiful bokeh effects in editing.

people with an umbrella in the bokeh effect image

Have you ever noticed some of the unique night scenes of cities in filmsundefined commercials and music videos? They are often filmed and adjusted or edited differently compared to the night scenes we see with our eyes. The lights are blurredundefined and there is a loose and blurred visual effect with different patterns of light apertures.

This effect is not new to photographers. It is known as bokeh in photography. The bokeh effect provides a dynamic balance between soft and sharp imagesundefined giving even a static image a sense of vibrancy.

Today we'll share some useful tips to help you create great bokeh effects and make your photos stand out!

What is Bokeh?

a stunning bokeh effect image

The word "bokeh" (ボケ) is a Japanese word that describes a blurred appearance. It generally refers to a photographic image with a shallow depth of fieldundefined where the image falling outside the depth of field has the effect of gradually becoming loosely blurred.

In photographyundefined it refers to the part that is out of focus. Different lens designsundefined aperture blade shapesundefined and different depths of field create different bokeh effects. By using a flexible focus and lensundefined photographers can create as many different bokeh shots as they want.

Bokeh is a photographic technique that uses the correct focus to blur the scene behind or the subject to emphasise the parts you want to draw attention toundefined and then blurs the background softly.

Factors That Impact Bokeh Effects

a camera on the ground

Focal Length

To take bokeh effect imagesundefined it is recommended to use a telephoto lens. The focal length of the lens has a big impact on the bokeh effect. It's more likely to produce a blurred bokeh with a longer focal length. A long focal length compresses the distance between the subject and the backgroundundefined making the background blurred while the subject can be highlighted.

Aperture Size and Shape

Generally speakingundefined the bokeh effect is closely related to the aperture size. The background gets more out of focus with larger apertures. And the bokeh effect will be better with the more light source.

With a large apertureundefined out-of-focus scenes will be blurredundefined and the shape of the bokeh will still affect the overall look of the photograph. The shape of the bokeh is determined by the shape of the apertureundefined so if you want a round bokehundefined just pick a lens with a round aperture.

For small aperture lensesundefined a circular bokeh can also be achieved if the aperture leaf is nearly circular.

Distance

Distance between the subject and the background: changing the distance between the subject and the background does not change the size of the depth of fieldundefined it only determines whether and to what extent the background is defocused.

Distance between the subject and the lens: the bokeh effect works better with a longer distance.

Background

The quality of the background can also have a huge impact on the bokeh effect. A cluttered and contrasty background is usually the least desirable background for a shot. A suitably clean background is most needed for bokeh shotsundefined which usually turns the bokeh effect out much better.

How to Take a Bokeh Effect Photos?

shoot a bokeh effect image with a camera

Camera Settings

To get a beautiful bokeh effectundefined the first thing you need to set your camera to manual mode or aperture priority. This will help you get better prepared for taking bokeh photos.

A Large Aperture

In other normal photo shooting scenariosundefined we usually choose a small apertureundefined but a small aperture is not suitable for bokeh effect shots.

Generally speakingundefined there is a good chance of getting a nice bokeh shot with an aperture of f/4 or less. Howeverundefined an overly large aperture will reduce the dimensionality and detail of the imageundefined and it is also easy to get out of focus because of the shallow depth of fieldundefined so be careful when using this.

Proper Distance

This refers to the distance between the camera and the subjectundefined as well as the distance between the subject and the shooting background.

You need to determine your distance depending on the size of the camera aperture you have set and the focal length. If the aperture is largeundefined you will need to get closerundefined or try changing the distance between the subject and the background.

A Long Focal Length

The focal length of the lens has a big influence on the bokeh effect. It's more likely to produce a blurred bokeh with a longer focal length.

Longer focal length lenses tend to produce bokeh because of the compression of the front and rear viewsundefined or because of the smaller angle of viewundefined resulting in a blurred background in the area captured.

For this reasonundefined we generally recommend using a long focal length lens to capture bokeh imagesundefined which can quickly blur the background and create a bokeh image.

Suitable Background

Not all shooting backgrounds are suitable for bokeh effects. We recommend that you use a background with man-made light to take bokeh pictures.

Man-made light sources are the closest to point light sourcesundefined so scenes with man-made light sources (such as urban night scenes and indoor scenes) are ideal for bokeh shots.

Compared to natural lightundefined the biggest advantage of man-made light is that it can be controlled. You can adjust the effect of the bokeh by changing the number and colour of the lights.

Creative Bokeh Aperture Shapes

We have mentioned above that the most common aperture shape for bokeh images is a circleundefined but it is creative to use other bokeh aperture shapes as well. You can spend a few minutes making little props to give yourself a unique bokeh effect.

How to Add Bokeh Effect to Photo?

bokeh effect in a city night image

If you find it difficult to achieve a bokeh effect in a shotundefined you can choose to add a bokeh effect by editing the photo with photo editor. This is an easier way to achieve a bokeh effect by editing your photos than the traditional way of achieving a bokeh in a photo shoot.

To achieve a natural and beautiful bokeh effectundefined you need to choose a very powerful photo editor - Fotor.

Fotor is a free online photo editor that combines photo editing and designundefined with a powerful and comprehensive range of photo editing toolsundefined from background remover to HSL. All these photo editing tools can make your photo perfect and eye-catching.

How to Add Stunning Bokeh Effect in Fotor

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Fotor

Powerful AI-driven editing tools like background remover, AI enlarger, object remover, one-tab skin retouch, AI art effects, etc.

Over 100,000+ ready-to-use templates and creative content for graphic design and photo collages.

Millions of HD stock photos for personal and commercial use.

Create Bokeh Effect Now

Fotor offers a wide variety of beautiful and unique filters&effects. You can add a beautiful bokeh effect to your photos with Fotor's effects. Below are the detailed tutorials to add a stuning bokeh effect to your photos with Fotor.

add a bokeh effect to a city night image in fotor
  1. Open Fotor and upload the photo you want to beautify
  2. Click on Effects in the left toolbar and select Festive in Effects. Select a bokeh effect that you likeundefined then adjust the intensity and apply.
  3. There are seven different bokeh effects in the Festiveundefined so you can choose the shape of the aperture as needed.
  4. Customise your photos. You can also make further photo edits to perfect your imagesundefined such as adding stickersundefined text and more filters
  5. Download your images (PNG and JPG format supported).

Conclusion:

We have shared some tips to help you create a stunning bokeh effect. To achieve beautiful bokeh effects in your photosundefined you need to pay attention to the key factors that determine the bokeh effectundefined including focal lengthundefined aperture size and shapeundefined distance and the shooting background. Howeverundefined if you find it difficult to realize the bokeh effect in shootingundefined try adding a bokeh effect with Fotor.