Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #194: Bokeh

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This week’s photo challenge from Sofia at Photgraphias is focused on the Bokeh technique. Bokeh is one of my all-time favorites! I feel all artsy-fartsy when I shoot in this format. It can turn a flat image into something spectacular.

I LOVE this challenge as it’s jazzing me to get out and use my cameras. I use both Olympus and Canon setups and I love both of them. Ironically, all of the notations below are from a Nikon website (1).

For those of you non-photographers out there – what is it? Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality.” Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.To achieve bokeh in an image, you need to use a fast lens—the faster the better. You’ll want to use a lens with at least an f/2.8 aperture, with faster apertures of f/2, f/1.8 or f/1.4 being ideal. (1)

How do you achieve this effect? You’ll want to shoot with the lens wide open, so you’ll want to use a shooting mode of Aperture Priority or Manual. Manual gives you the ability to choose both your aperture and shutter speed, whereas Aperture Priority allows you to choose the f/stop while the camera chooses the appropriate shutter speed for the exposure. (1)

The most photographed subjects showing nice examples of bokeh are portraits. Close-up portraits show bokeh very well. Close-up and macro images of flowers and other objects in nature are also popular subjects to photograph that shows off bokeh in the image. (1)

The images below were shot in Aperture mode with my Olympus. Dang, this camera takes a good photo! The look on that bird’s face makes me smile every time.

“Life is a song. Sing it”


Thanks to Tina over at Travels and Trifles, I explored the portrait function on my iPhone. This little guy below hangs in a tree in our yard. He looks a little scary, but, I find him super interesting and he guards the house like a modern day gargoyle! He was purchased at an art market in Austin, TX and has managed to weather every storm for the past 4 years.

“The earth without art is just eh”


Here is a summary of some tried and true Bokeh Photography Tips (1)

  • Fast aperture is best (at least f/2.8)
  • Use fast prime lenses
  • Long focal length creates more extreme bokeh
  • Shoot lenses wide open
  • Increase distance between subject and background
  • Move closer to your subject
  • Take close-up portraits and macro images in nature
  • Use a backlight, side light, or hair light

If you want to learn more about this technique you can search Flickr or your other favorite site and check out the camera settings the photographer used. It’s super helpful when learning something new.

Happy shooting!

…i choose this…



  1. Nicely done Pam – and your summary is spot-on (pun intended!). Loved the little bird and also the little guy in front of the tree (altho he might scare children away LOL). Lovely images, obviously you’ve mastered the bokeh challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes to “Life is a song. Sing it”. I am another who had a smile while admiring the parrot image. I love capturing butterflies though they can be elusive. I find the cooler mornings when they’re topping up their energy from the sun the best time to capture them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks AB! You should try a DSLR! There is a lot to learn. Unfortunately I have taken a long break so now I’ve got to relearn a few things. Jumping back into it. Figured I might have a thing or 2 to photograph in Oregon 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love these photos, even the one shot with an iPhone — it’s excellent! But what I really appreciate are all your tips. I’m more of an accidental bokeh photographer. If it happens, I’m thrilled. But you’re more intentional, and the results are grand.


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