How to Shoot A Photo With Bokeh In The Background

How to Shoot A Photo With Bokeh In The Background

Have you been hearing that word “bokeh” get tossed around in different photography communities?

It’s because it’s a super popular and beautiful part of any image- especially portraits. But maybe you’re just not quite sure what it is or how you can achieve it in camera. 

Don’t worry! Keep reading and I’ll help you out!

What Is Bokeh?

Bokeh is a Japanese word that translated means blur. For some people bokeh is simply a blurring background.  For others (myself included) when the word bokeh is used, it does imply blurriness to the background, but also circles of light that shine through behind your subject.

How To Get Bokeh in Your Background

Pull Your Subject Away From The Background

Start by really pulling your subject away from the background.  Don’t put them right up against a tree or bushes or whatever it is that is behind them. Make sure they are a good distance away from whatever is behind them.

Related Podcast: How To Get A Blurry Background

Shoot Wide

Using a wider aperture will help you achieve that beautiful blur or bokeh in your photo. If you just have one subject- try to shoot at 1.8 (ish) and see what happens.  If you have more than one subject, you might want to raise it a little higher.

Shot at an aperture of 2.0

Use A Longer Focal Length

While you can achieve great bokeh with any lens, the longer yours is will help you in mastering the bokeh or blur in the background.  The 50mm 1.8 is an awesome lens to start with to start seeing bokeh in your photos (and you can grab one from right around 100 bucks!)  But going longer, mayber 85mm or 135mm (my personal fave), can help you out even more!

Related Article: Why the 135mm Should be On Your Wishlist

shot with the Canon 135mm 2.0

Look For Light Shining Through In The Background

This can be the tricky part- but it’s also the part that will allow those circular looking sparkles of light to show up in your photo.  Look for how the light falls through the trees or bushes. Look for light in the environment (light posts, Christmas lights, porch lights, lights in the city, etc.) when set up correctly, the natural light in the environment will show up as bokeh in your background!

Add It In

If you want to add it in later in Photoshop you can too! While it’s always the best idea to try to get your shot the way you want it to look in camera, editing it in later can be fun and allow you more creativity.

Watch the short video here on how to add in overlays!

Related Product: The Bokeh Set

And then download a free sample here from the all new Bokeh Set from Cozy Clicks!

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How to get bokeh in the background of your pictures.  Learn how to get a  blurry background in your photos.  Great photography tips for new photographers!
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  • CarollOctober 2, 2019 - 7:06 pm

    Your tutorial is so useful. These photos are really beautyful. I used to be confused how to shoot photo with bokeh to make it more attractive. Thank alot for sharing!ReplyCancel