Bokeh is an exciting aspect of photography. The best Bokeh is usually portrayed in portraits. Typically, soft buttery and smooth Bokeh are produced using wide apertures.
So, can you get Bokeh with F4? Yes, a 600mm F4 lens can produce a nice bokeh thanks to the compression/ telephoto effect of the 600mm lens. However, for the shorter lenses, F2.8 is recommended since it produces nice Bokeh. And for even smoother Bokeh, F2, 1.8, and 1.4 do a great job.
This article goes in-depth on everything you need to know about Bokeh and how to achieve it best. You will learn the bokeh camera settings from the best lens to the best aperture for Bokeh.
Let’s dive into it.
Can You Achieve a Nice Bokeh with F4?
It is possible to get an excellent bokeh with an F4 setting. That is especially true for the 600mm lenses. Generally, to achieve buttery and smooth bokeh images, very wide apertures are used. For the 600mm lens, you can get a nice bokeh in F4, given the compression/telephoto effect of the lens.
For the shorter lenses, however, the F 2.8 is recommended if you want a nice bokeh. And to make it even smoother, use the F2, F1.8, and F1.4.
How to Get Bokeh with an F4 lens
Below are some tips that you can apply to get a nice bokeh with the F4 lens quickly:
The first step is to set the aperture to the lowest numerical value the lens can allow. You can choose to either stand close to the subject or zoom in close for a better shot. While doing so, ensure you have lots of room behind the subject.
Bokeh depends on two main things; the aperture, as earlier mentioned, and the distance between the camera and the subject against the distance from your camera to the area beyond the picture where you focus.
If these distances don’t change, then you can consider opening up the shutter to increase Bokeh. That means adjusting the aperture to a lower numerical value.
The trick behind a good bokeh can be summarized as having more visible room behind the target than the distance between you and the target. You can get the best Bokeh this way.
What is Bokeh?
Bokeh is a Japanese word that means haze or blur. It can be described as smooth, beautiful, sweet, superb, good, and incredible. You can carry out more research to learn more about this exciting aspect in photography and the lens to use.
By definition, Bokeh can be used to describe the out-of-focus effect on a background that you achieve when taking a photo of a subject with the widest aperture like F2.8 or wider and using a fast lens. Simply put, it is that aesthetic or pleasing quality of the out-of-focus blur in a photo.
Why Consider Using Bokeh in Photography
Bokeh generally refers to the quality of the out-of-focus elements in your photo. Many photographers are fixated on this aspect of photography.
So, what makes it such big of a deal? The reason is that Bokeh does a great job of establishing separation and mood in an image.
If you observe a background with a nice bokeh, you will see that it almost looks like a beautiful painting. And then, if you place your portrait subject in front of this background, add some light, and you get yourself a terrific photo.
The best part is, Bokeh is not limited to portraits. You will notice that wildlife and sports photographers alike tend to love the 600mm F4 and 400 F2.8. The resulting photos are usually excellent, with the background falling away in the shot and the subject popping off the image.
How Do You Set Bokeh?
For bokeh photographs, there are some camera settings you need to work with. For one, the lens should be wide open and ensure that the shooting mode you are using is either Manual or Aperture Priority. The manual mode allows you to select both the shutter speed and aperture.
In contrast, the Aperture priority mode only will enable you to choose the f/stop as the camera picks the ideal shutter speed for the exposure for you. The flexible program mode is also acceptable, and choose the widest shutter speed and aperture combination possible.
How to Achieve Bokeh
If you’re looking to increase the likelihood of visible Bokeh in your images, you need to increase the distance between the background and your subject.
That can be done by reducing the distance between the subject and the camera. A shallower depth of field or a further background will result in a more out-of-focus image just how you want it.
Having highlights hitting the background goes a long way in making the Bokeh more pleasing. You can incorporate a sidelight, hair light, or backlight for this.
Therefore, in summary, the best bokeh photography tips include;
- Using a fast aperture
- Using fast prime lenses is ideal
- Using a longer focal length creates more extreme Bokeh
- The shoot lenses should be wide open
- Ensure that you increase the distance between background and subject
- Move closer to the subject
- Take macro images and close-up portraits in nature
- Make use of sidelights, hair light, or backlight.
What is the Best Aperture for Bokeh?
When it comes to achieving a good bokeh in an image, the faster the lens, the better. Therefore, the least aperture should be F2.8, with the faster apertures of F2, F1.8, and F1.4 being the most recommended. Many photographers tend to use fast prime lenses while shooting photographs with a visible bokeh.
What is the Best Lens for Bokeh?
Even though Bokeh is characteristic of a photograph, the lens plays a significant role in determining the size and shape of the visible Bokeh. Bokeh is typically more in highlights and is affected by the shape of the lens’s aperture (diaphragm blades).
For instance, a lens with circular-shaped blades will have softer and rounder orbs of the out-of-focus highlights, while a lens with a more hexagonal aperture reflects that shape in the highlights.
Even if you do not have a fast lens, it is still possible to achieve a superb bokeh. You can do this by increasing the distance between the subject and the background. Bokeh is visible even in images shot at smaller apertures such as F8.
Bokeh in Portraits
Bokeh is most common in portraits. Generally, the most photographed subjects that show excellent examples of Bokeh are portraits. The close-up ones show the best Bokeh. Moreover, macro images and close-up images of flowers and other natural objects are popular subjects in photographs to display Bokeh.
When it comes to showing off Bokeh, the most photographed subject is shooting a grouping of holiday lights or other reflective objects. When purposely taken in out-of-focus, the ordinarily bright or harsh things become pastel, soft, diffused orbs of glowing lights, as in a painting.
Bokeh also tends to add softness in an otherwise bright photo. This technique can separate the subject from the background and allows you to use the not-so-photogenic background in the image. The diffused blur tends to highlight the subject and not detract from it.
What Are the Characteristics of a Good and Bad Bokeh?
Even the best photographers do not always come up with good Bokeh all the time. It is hard for first-timers to get it right unless with much practice. Besides knowledge, to get good, Bokeh needs patience and perseverance.
Bokeh comes in different shapes, which largely depends on the type of camera you are working with. It is also affected by the diaphragm shape and aperture number. Here are the descriptions of good and bad Bokeh.
Good Bokeh is usually easy on the eyes- that easily attracts you when you look at it. The background appears soft and creamy, with hardly any details. Good Bokeh can be described as one where the background does not have any sharpness or hard edges.
The background should not have any element that distracts the viewer. Also, the blurry area should have circles of light that are smooth and round. The out-of-focus lines should be blurred with the points intersecting blurring into each.
Other people can describe good Bokeh as one that features a light background. It should essentially make the central subject more noticeable as well as the whole picture as a whole.
On the other hand, bad Bokeh is the exact opposite of good Bokeh. The background features sharp lines, circles with sharp edges, and double lines.
These lines also have bright spots that easily distract the viewer. Simply put, bad Bokeh tends to take the spotlight away from your subject.
However, some photographers can work with bad Bokeh and turn it into a creative piece of art pleasing to the viewers.
If the Bokeh is neither good nor bad, it can be referred to as neutral. In neutral Bokeh, the light in the blur circle appears even with the edges being well defined and lines sharp. Neutral Bokeh is technically referred to as perfect little circles.
Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of the image in photography.
Bokeh tends to bring out the best portraits. Photographers who make use of this effect play with the lens, focus, and aperture and employ a shallow depth of field, as explained above in the article.