Case Study: Bokeh

When playing with depth of field, you will inevitably come across the concept of bokeh, or the creative manipulation of background blur. This is a favorite for portraiture and street photography. As you may have already picked up while studying depth of field, you can achieve intense blurs through any, or all of the following:

  • larger apertures
  • longer focal lengths
  • greater separation between subject and background


Osaka, Japan (2015) ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500sec
Osaka, Japan (2015)
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500sec


Guildford, United Kingdom
ISO 100, f/2, 1/640sec



London, United Kingdom
ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/1000sec


Below is a good tutorial on how to get bokeh:

For a simpler setup for practicing bokeh, please refer to other tutorials, such as this one:

This was actually replicated in a past MMS 173 session and the class yielded results such as this one:

UPOU Headquarters ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/20sec
UPOU Headquarters
ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/20sec

I personally don’t think too much about bokeh in my pictures all that much. It’s never my priority. But I still would encourage you to discuss this in the discussion forums. I’m sure some of your classmates will be more than happy to share their knowledge with the rest of you, so you can employ this technique in some of your photography projects.