How to Achieve Stunning Bokeh: A Lens Bokeh Tutorial for Beginners

Understanding Bokeh

Factors such as the aperture, the distance between the camera and the subject, and the lens’s focal length all affect the bokeh effect. By understanding these factors, you can create a shallow depth of field, which will produce the bokeh effect. A shallow depth of field is created by using a wide aperture (low f-stop number), a longer focal length, and positioning the subject far from the background. In the following sections, we’ll go into more detail on different bokeh techniques for beginners, such as choosing the right lens and how to control the bokeh effect. By mastering these techniques, you can achieve stunning bokeh that will take your photography to the next level.

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Types of Bokeh

When it comes to bokeh, there are different types that you can achieve. Understanding the types of bokeh can help you create more visually interesting and impactful images. Here are the most common types of bokeh techniques for beginners:

Soft Bokeh

This type of bokeh is smooth and gentle, creating a soft and dreamy look in your images.

Harsh Bokeh

As the name suggests, harsh bokeh produces a more gritty and rough texture, often used in street photography and for edgier aesthetics.

Creamy Bokeh

Creamy bokeh produces a more fluid and creamy texture, which is ideal for creating more romantic and sentimental images.

Double Bokeh

Double bokeh creates two distinct layers of bokeh, which can add depth and interest to your images.

Shaped Bokeh

With shaped bokeh, you can create unique shapes and patterns in your bokeh, adding an artistic touch to your images.

It’s important to experiment with different types of bokeh to see what works best for your style and vision. Try out these bokeh techniques for beginners to add a creative flair to your photography.

Factors Affecting Bokeh

While the type of lens plays a significant role in the bokeh quality, there are other factors that affect it too. Understanding these factors is essential to achieving the best bokeh possible.


The size of the aperture or the f-stop directly impacts the bokeh quality. The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field and more blurred the background will be.

Focal length

The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and greater the depth of field. Thus, the best lens for bokeh tends to have a longer focal length.

Distance between subject and background

The distance between the subject and background also affects the bokeh quality. The greater the distance, the more blurred the background will be.

Distance between lens and subject

The closer the lens is to the subject, the shallower the depth of field, resulting in a more pronounced bokeh effect.

Lens construction

The quality and construction of the lens also play a role in achieving good bokeh. Lenses with more aperture blades tend to produce rounder, smoother bokeh.

Keeping these factors in mind while selecting the lens and adjusting the camera settings will help you achieve stunning bokeh in your photos.

Choosing the Right Lens for Bokeh

While all lenses can produce bokeh, not all lenses are created equal when it comes to achieving stunning bokeh. Here are the top three lenses that are known to produce the best bokeh:

Fast Prime Lenses

Prime lenses with a wide aperture of f/1.4 or wider are ideal for achieving shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh. These lenses allow more light to enter the camera, resulting in a smoother and creamier bokeh. Examples of fast prime lenses include the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

FX format medium telephoto lens with 85mm focal length (127mm on a Nikon SLR in DX format)

Quick aperture f/1.8: allows wonderfully uniform bokeh effect, sharp photos in low light conditions and an image in the bright viewfinder

Excellent optical performance

Macro Lenses

Macro lenses are designed for close-up photography and have a narrow depth of field, which makes them perfect for capturing detailed bokeh. They are also capable of producing soft, out-of-focus areas in the background, resulting in a beautiful bokeh effect. Some of the best lens for bokeh in macro category are Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro

100 millimeter focal length and 1:2.8 maximum aperture. The EF1.4X II; EF2X II extenders cannot be used with this lens. There are no compatible close-up lenses

Lens construction consists of 15 elements in 12 groups

23.4-Degree diagonal angle of view

Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses are great for compressing perspective and isolating your subject, which creates a shallow depth of field and a beautiful bokeh effect. They also tend to have wider apertures, allowing more light to enter the camera and produce smoother bokeh. Examples of telephoto lenses that are known for producing great bokeh are the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm

Minimum Focus Distance- 3.6 feet (1.1 meter)

Diaphragm blades: 9. Format: FX/35 millimeter. Minimum Aperture: f/ 22

Focus distance indicator- 1.1 am to infinity

Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on

Remember, choosing the right lens for bokeh depends on your subject, shooting style, and personal preference. Take your time to experiment with different lenses and find the best lens for bokeh that suits your needs.

How to Control Bokeh

Once you have the right lens for your desired effect, it’s time to learn how to control the bokeh in your shots. Here are a few tips to achieve stunning lens bokeh:

  1. Adjust your aperture – A wide aperture (low f-stop number) will create a shallower depth of field and more noticeable bokeh, while a narrow aperture (high f-stop number) will have more of your subject in focus and less noticeable bokeh.
  2. Move your subject – Changing the distance between your subject and the background can help control the amount of bokeh in your shot. Moving your subject closer to the lens with the background farther away will create more bokeh, while moving your subject farther away will create less bokeh.
  3. Change your background – The texture and color of your background can also affect your bokeh. Using a plain background or one with simple shapes or patterns can help create a more uniform and smooth bokeh effect.
  4. Use lens filters – Certain filters, such as neutral density or polarizing filters, can help control the amount of light entering your lens and therefore control your aperture and bokeh.
  5. Experiment with different lenses – Different lenses will produce different types of bokeh, so it’s important to experiment with various lenses to find the one that creates the bokeh effect you’re looking for.

By following these tips, you can learn how to achieve lens bokeh and create stunning shots with a beautiful and creative background blur.

Tips and Tricks for Creative Bokeh

Now that you understand the basics of bokeh and how to control it, let’s dive into some tips and tricks for using lens bokeh to create stunning and unique photographs.

  • Play with foreground and background elements. By placing your subject in front of an interesting and textured background, you can create a bokeh that adds depth and dimension to your photo. Alternatively, you can use bokeh to blur out a distracting background and draw attention to your subject.

  • Experiment with different shapes. As we discussed earlier, some lenses produce bokeh with a unique shape, such as hexagons or pentagons. You can use this to your advantage by selecting a lens with a bokeh shape that complements your subject or the overall mood of your photo.

  • Use light creatively. Bokeh is created by the way that light passes through your lens, so playing with light sources can help you create interesting and unique bokeh effects. For example, you can shoot into the sun or use string lights to create a bokeh “background” behind your subject.

  • Incorporate motion blur. By combining bokeh with motion blur, you can create photos that have a dreamy and ethereal quality. To do this, use a slower shutter speed and either pan your camera or have your subject move through the frame.

  • Get up close and personal. Macro photography is a great way to explore the creative possibilities of lens bokeh. By getting up close to your subject, you can create a bokeh that’s both intricate and beautiful.

With these tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to creating stunning photos using lens bokeh. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – that’s the beauty of photography!

Bokeh Photography Examples

Now that you have a good understanding of bokeh and how to achieve it, let’s take a look at some stunning bokeh photography examples.

First up, we have a beautiful portrait shot taken with the best lens for bokeh. The creamy, dreamy bokeh in the background creates a soft and romantic atmosphere that perfectly complements the subject’s natural beauty.

Next, we have an artistic shot of a cityscape at night. The shallow depth of field and twinkling lights in the background create a mesmerizing bokeh effect that draws the viewer’s eye into the image. Moving on to nature photography, we have a breathtaking shot of a flower in bloom. The shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh in the background create a stunning contrast that highlights the delicate details of the subject.

Lastly, we have a creative bokeh photography example featuring a holiday scene. The playful bokeh shapes in the background add a festive touch and make the image feel lively and fun.


Achieving stunning bokeh can greatly enhance your photography, adding an artistic and creative element to your images. Understanding the types of bokeh, the factors affecting it, and choosing the best lens for bokeh are crucial for getting the desired effect. With some practice, controlling bokeh becomes easier, and you can experiment with different tips and tricks to achieve even more creative bokeh. Remember to experiment and have fun, and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. With the right techniques and the best lens for bokeh, you can capture beautiful images with stunning bokeh that will make your photos stand out.

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