Shooting Against the Light: The Brilliance of Bokeh

 

Immerse your senses in the warmth of the sun even as the flare fills your eyes, lens and your photographs.

Pay attention to tiny points of lights in the background. Make them shimmer and come alive in your frame.

Bokeh is essentially points of light in the frame that have been thrown completely out of focus. When these points of light blur, they form circles of light. The tinier the source of light, sharper and more circular is the bokeh. It can be used to enhance portraits, wildlife, or still life shots… or practically any kind of photography where the focus is limited to the main subject in the foreground.

While a colourful bokeh looks good, make sure it does not draw attention away from the main subject. Exposure: 1/40sec at f/18 (ISO 100) Photograph/Udayan Sankar

While a colourful bokeh looks good, make sure it does not draw attention away from the main subject. Exposure: 1/40sec at f/18 (ISO 100) Photograph/Udayan Sankar

How to Achieve it
Bokeh is more apparent with lenses that have apertures of f/2.8 or wider, and when the lens is focussed at its minimum focussing distance. With a compact camera, bokeh becomes more visible when you switch to the macro more and lock the focus on a subject that is a few centimetres in front of the lens, with the lights in the background.

During the day, patches of sunlight through leaves in the background can also form good bokeh. Exposure: 1/250sec at f/6.3 (ISO 3200) Photograph/Rinske Blok-van Middendorp

During the day, patches of sunlight through leaves in the background can also form good bokeh. Exposure: 1/250sec at f/6.3 (ISO 3200) Photograph/Rinske Blok-van Middendorp

What Turns into Bokeh
Everything from car headlights, lights from distant highrises, or even tiny fairy lights during festivals can create fascinating bokeh. Also, if the lens is focussed at a distance with the foreground blurred, point of light right in front of the lens can turn into bokeh.

Try This
The next time you are invited to a wedding, try getting some great portraits with bokeh in the background. Weddings usually have a lot of colourful light decorations that you can use to create bokeh.

For more techniques on backlighting, click here. 

 

Tags: backlighting, bokeh, Chandni Gajria, Shooting Technique