Making Dreamy Bokeh

posted in: Photography | 7

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.

this is an image of green orbs of dreamy bokeh and grass flowers
I couldn’t bare to edit this image as I loved the natural hues of green orbs bouncing about the frame


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!

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh.

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7 Responses

  1. deb duty

    Love all the green and the beautiful bokeh in your shot! Thanks for the mention of my post. I had forgotten about that. Looks like I need to get out that 200mm more often!

  2. Deanna

    What a beautiful bokehliscious image!! Thanks for providing all that info on getting the perfect bokeh shot. I am going to have to put into practice your suggestions. Sometimes mine are simply by accident, and sometimes I get lucky and aim for it. But knowing the info about the aperature is really helpful!! Thanks!!

  3. Michelle @ snapshots by Michelle

    1. You already know exactly how I feel about this image. 🙂



    2. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂
    3. Thanks even more for the links — so stinking helpful and am devouring the info!!