How To: 7 Quick Tips To Create Bokeh With Digital Camera

April 15, 2010 · 41 comments

in Tips & Tricks

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word ‘boke’, which means fuzzy. In photography, bokeh defines the quality of the blurred lights presented in a photo. We’re not referring to a badly taken photo that’s all out of focus, but rather the aesthetically pleasing background blur. Usually, this type of blur highlights the focused subject even more.

Producing nice bokeh involves creating a shallow depth of field.

Here are some tips to get you started with bokeh photography:

1.) Larger aperture works best, so use a low f-stop number like f1.4, f1.8 or f2.8. I like using the Canon 50mm f1.8 or the 35mm f1.4 for this project.

2.) Set your camera to aperture priority.

3.) You would need to set the shutter speed faster than 1/50 second. Any slower and I find the background lights getting blurred together, instead of rendering small circles. If it’s too dark, increase the ISO level rather than the f-stop number.

4.) The closer you get to subject, the better. If you’re using a zoom lens, extend it to the longest focal length.

5.) The further away the background, the better.

6.) Ensure that the background is lit. Glowing lights like street lamps and traffic lights work best. While a consistently lit background would just create a regular blur.

7.) If you don’t have a subject and want to create the bokeh effect with the night lights, manually focus your camera.

Get inspired by the photos below and show us your best bokeh shots!

Yuki-chan and the Bokeh by josh.liba

Yuki-chan and the Bokeh

TTL by E-Rocks


The one with the red thread by dsevilla

The one with the red thread

Taxi by Al Fed


Sheep meadow by orangachang

Sheep meadow

Kulio’ou’ou by da_godfaddah


I wish I was special by irene gr

I wish I was special

Heart by seyed mostafa zamani


Have a Very Bokeh Christmas by Brandon Christopher Warren

Have a Very Bokeh Christmas

Burst of Life by matthileo

Burst of Life

Blur of city lights by Yiie

Blur of city lights

Ashlin by matt caplin


Aeia Loop by da_godfaddah

Aeia Loop

Another Journey By Train by Steve Leggat

Another Journey By Train

Bokeh Star by Maschinenraum

Bokeh Star


Article by

1 part ad agency. 2 parts freelancer. An avid urban photographer, traveler, and streetwear lover. Geeky curator of all things awesome. Sustains on Vegemite, meat pies and lamingtons. Follow me on Twitter or Flickr.

Yi has written 69 awesome articles for us at Photoble

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