Closet Photographer: Let's Create a Beautiful Bokeh

As I said last week, this bokeh has nothing to do with presenting flowers to your sweetheart at Valentines or anything of the sort. This type of bokeh has to do with your aperture and the focus of the background of your image.  

Two weeks ago we discussed the depth of field achieved by different apertures. Essentially the bokeh is the quality of the blur in the background. There can be good bokeh and bad bokeh depending on the intentions of the photography when capturing the image. In many portraits you work to capture a certain level of bokeh which allows the subject and any important elements around them be in sharp focus while distracting elements blend into the bokeh of the background. Another interesting application has to do with lights in the background of your image.

 

We've all seen images with beauitful backgrounds of coloured spheres. Have you ever wondered how to create these images yourself? You might be surprised to know that you already have all the tools you need. Here's an example of quickly created image with a light bokeh in the background.

Now here's all you need to try this one at home...some form of multiple lights. It could be a few flashlights, a set of christmas lights, any type of light that you have a few of. Arrange the lights close together ( you may have to play with the spacing as you take images and review them but start with about 2inches between them). Choose a subject to have in focus a minimum of 2 feet in front of your lights. Depending on the brightness of the area you are working in you may need to lower the ambient lighting in the room (turn off some of the regular lights) - the darker the room the more your light bokeh in the background will really jump out! You will have to play with settings but lower your F-stop to the lowest number you can to have your subject in focus for best results.