Many times it's the bokeh that makes a really good image. Today in my series of photography tutorials you'll discover that there really is a recipe for achieving creamy, dreamy bokeh images. There are two items that you really need to get right for creating great dreamy bokeh.
Space and Light
- The space is needed between your main subject and the background that you want to create the bokeh from.
- Dull weather makes my images have a very plain blurred background. However capturing a little sunlight makes the bokeh just bounce around the frame.
Furthermore there's also the experimenting with different apertures, focal lengths and different lens.
My Dreamy Bokeh Set Up
In my photograph below there were at least 3 metres between the grass and the trees. Dappled sunlight filtered through the leaves which made the orbs of light appear in the background.
If You Want Light Orbs...
The wider your lens aperture the more rounder the light orbs will be. While the smaller your aperture the more blades and edges will show on those orbs. They'll be more like hexagons rather than circles.
I used my prime EF50mm f/1.4 USM at f1.8 for this shot as I wanted very round and circular orbs. Plus I didn't want to risk the grass being too soft if I shot at f1.4. If I had shot at f2.8 I would have had more of an outline of the tree trunks. But orbs were my intention with this shot and isolating the grass from the rest of the landscape.
If I had used a telescopic lens like my 90mm or 200mm at f2.8 then the background would have been much more compressed and the orbs of light would have been even larger.
Sometimes even the shallow depth of field from f1.8 is too soft for my bokeh shots. As a result I try to remember take a few safe shots as well of between f2 and f2.8. Furthermore I move with my feet around the subject.
If I'm shooting a person then I'll move them either a little further away or closer to the background. Or else I'll move in a little closer towards them.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to keep the light in the frame as that's what will make that dreamy bokeh bokelicious!