What Is Bokeh?
Pronounced as “Bo-Ke”, bokeh comes from a Japanese origin word called “boke”, which means “blur”. This in itself gives away the gist of bokeh photography. Bokeh is, therefore, the soft blur effect produced when photographers shoot a subject using a fast lens with a wide aperture. In simple words, we term it “a beautiful blur” effect.
Note that the bokeh effect can be created both during the photography stage as well as in the post-production process. However, this blog will take you through the steps of how to create bokeh in the production stage. Let’s get started!
Suggested Read: How To Add Bokeh In Lightroom
How To Do Bokeh Photography For Wedding Photographers
Below, we have listed some of the aspects that can help you ace the art of bokeh wedding photography. Take a look!
1. Choose Prime Lenses
Your choice of photography gear matters. Moreover, the lens you pick can play a pivotal role in bokeh wedding photography. To get the best bokeh portraits, the lenses with a comparatively wider aperture range and 50 mm focal length perform better. Therefore, making prime lenses a popular choice to get that dreamy bokeh effect. With the right lens and the benefit of a shallow depth of field, you hold the power to create striking bokeh photographs. In addition to prime lenses, you can also make use of zoom and telephoto lenses. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S, and Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM are some of the most sought-after lenses in these categories.
Suggested Read: The Complete Wedding Photography Equipment Guide
2. Experiment With Close-Up Shots
A close-up shot can bring attention to the subject by defocusing the background. In addition to that, it could also help you create some stellar bokeh portraits. So while photographing the couple’s portrait, in addition to classic go-to shots, give close-up shots and close crop a try. You never know what beautiful detail you might end up highlighting.
3. Bokeh Camera Settings
Set a wide aperture: The function of the aperture is to control the amount of light that falls on the sensor. To create a blurring effect or a bokeh, we want the aperture to let more light in. Therefore, setting the aperture to a lower f stop, such as f/1.2 or f/1.4. i.e., a wide aperture.
Experiment with slow shutter speeds: Setting your camera to slower shutter speeds allows the camera sensor to be exposed to the light for a longer period of time. Thus, letting in more light and including a chance to create a blurry effect.
Set up a low ISO: Setting your ISO to an increased value can introduce digital noise to the image. Noise can further introduce grain, thus, further hampering the image quality.
- Shoot manual: Even though you are free to experiment with shutter speed and aperture priority modes, shooting manual hits a home run if you are trying to gain more creative control. This gives you full control over changing your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
4. Use Bokeh Filters
Another fun way to create wedding bokeh photographs is to use bokeh filters. This adds a hint of creativity to the process. These filters come in all shapes and sizes and can easily be bought online or from your nearest photography gear store. You can also make them yourself! This is a great challenge for you DIYers. To create stellar bokeh wedding photographs with these filters, all you have to do is place the filter in front of your camera lens. And then, try to photograph the nearest light source with a wide aperture.
Further Read: How To Add Bokeh Effect In Photoshop
Mastering any photography style or technique takes time, effort, and practice. And it is the same with bokeh wedding photography! So if you are still figuring out your way to put this technique to good use, we’d recommend that you try the aforementioned tips. This can help you get the basics right. And honing the basics can pave the way to precision. With practice, a knack for creativity, and an urge to experiment, it is likely that great things will unfold.
Here at ShootDotEdit, we thrive at helping wedding photographers reach their true potential as professionals. Part of how we do that is by taking photo editing off your post-production workflow. To learn more about how we can help, take a look at our pricing plans.