Shooting Challenge: Bokeh

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Bokeh

"The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji (ボケ味), the "blur quality". The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility." -Wikipedia


The Challenge

For this week's Shooting Challenge, you need to take a photo that celebrates bokeh, or a pleasant blur. The photo need not be entirely out of focus. But some part should be, significantly.

The Method

Bokeh has been so popular for the past decade that it's a cinch to find excellent resources. A lot of the final look comes down to the lens you are using—certain limitations of physics—and you can best research that by exploring bokeh groups on flickr. But achieving the effect is highly doable.

Roberts Donovan will walk you through the basic rules of the technique, as well as the "secret" to it all—out of focus highlights.

DIY Photography even suggests a little hack you can use for special bokeh shapes.


The Example

Our lead photo is by flickr member pasukaru76. Shot with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens.



1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 930px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Monday, January 31st at 8AM Eastern to with "Bokeh" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameBokeh.jpg (960px wide) and FirstnameLastnameBokehWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

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Ohhh, how I would love an f2 lens right now.