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Using Bokeh to Get Lost in the Crowd

I wrote an earlier post for food bloggers about the use of bokeh to polish up their images. But Bokeh is something anyone can apply to, no matter what their hobby, be it food, cars or playing pool.

I was taking shots recently for a birthday party in a crowded city bar and saw some amazing lanterns in the background of the bar behind the pool tables.

Bar Lights

Dangling bar lights

Perfect for Bokeh photography! Dispersed circular lights out of the depth of field would make a nice accompaniment to balls. The shallow depth of field also changed the scenery of the crowded bar to the surface of the pool table and allowed the image to focus on nothing but the game.

12, 13

(Image shot with Canon 50mm prime lens – Aperture: f/1.8, Exposure: 1/10 seconds)

10(Image shot with Canon 50mm prime lens – Aperture: f/1.8, Exposure: 1/10 seconds)

9, 10

(Image shot with Canon 50mm prime lens – Aperture: f/1.8, Exposure: 1/160 seconds)

Great Examples of Pool Playing Bokeh

Untitled by Joseph Robertson using a BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

Your Last $50 Is Riding On This

Your last $50 is riding on this by Mick 0 using a BY-NC 2.0 licence

not ready for the big leagues yet (25/365)

not ready for the big leagues yet (25/365) by swimparalell using a BY-SA 2.0 licence


6 by Slightlynorth using a BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

Billiard Bokeh

Billiard Bokeh by adwriter using a BY-NC 2.0 licence

They key to these images is having your subject in focus at a shallow depth of field, and placing either lights or other objects in a distance far enough to be outside the lenses depth of field, as shown in the images above.

Happy Snapping!



Filed under: Night Bokeh, Tips, , , , ,

20 Responses

  1. Well done! You’ve used awesome examples here. Congrats on being pressed!

  2. Sunflowerdiva says:

    Wow, that’s a really cool effect! I’ll definitely try this bokeh method out! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  3. intrepidtraveller says:

    Wow these pics are amazing. The light and the focus is so sharp! Great post!

  4. Katie says:

    Wow, I can never seem to get my bokeh to turn out that nice when I’m trying. It always seems to happen by accident and I’m not sure why. But now you’ve inspired me to practice more. I love the black and white of the 6 ball, by the way. Great work!

  5. fotovita says:

    woww niceee bokeh…love the creature!

  6. pltprincess says:

    Thanks. I’ll have to try this technique.

  7. CrystalSpins says:

    I like it. When I used to be into photography I was all about depth of field. But that was back when we were all using real film. I’m not sure how I would deal with it now with a digital camera.


  8. Great illustration of the technique! I like the photos too.

  9. This post has inspired me to go and take some pictures.

  10. ltsxyfce says:

    Awesome! This makes me want to try it out. 🙂

  11. PJC says:

    Impressive shots man!

  12. iheartfilm says:

    I love experimenting with bokeh, but I end up obsessively using the aperture preview button. Drives me nuts.

  13. darthbergen says:

    There is little more satisfying that shooting with a great prime lens. I have a 50mm f1.7 that is always with me. Great shots.

  14. Shinjini says:

    Nice shots! I’ve been trying bokeh since a while, but it’s very hit and miss with me…I can’t seem to get a bokeh shot consistently.

  15. Toni Tones says:

    Yay! You’ve been pressed! Love the dangling bar lights.

  16. ibninja says:

    Love me some bokeh! A great lens for this is a 50mm prime like the Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens. Very cheap but you get amazing pics out of it.

  17. Kat says:

    Great post! I loved all the pool pictures. I was delighted to see mine (I’m swimparallel). I haven’t taken photos in a while, and this is making me want to go rectify that…

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