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Weekly Photography Tips - Bokeh

One thing that sets portrait photography apart from just grabbing snapshots of people is that out of focus background. So much so that mobile phone makers have figured out a way create the effect artificially.

The term photographers use is bokeh. It's defined as that blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-foucs portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field. Good bokeh really makes the person or subject of the image stand out.

This effect is achieved by simply setting the aperture as low or wide open as possible and then making sure that you have good focus on your subject. As a rule of thumb you should set focus on the eyes. If they aren't clear and sharp it can create a distracting image.

Portrait photography tends to be done with medium to telephoto lens, 35 to 200mm. The longer the lens the more the background is compressed thus enhancing the blurry effect of the out-of-foucs background. Wide angle lens can have a bit of a distortion and aren't always best for portraits.