Bokeh refers to the visual or aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus effect that occurs when using a lens on your PENOM-D or E-System camera. Taking advantage of this effect in your holiday images helps isolate your main subject while creating a pleasing background effect.

Comparison of bokeh
Photo by Olympus Visionary Peter Baumgarten.
1

OPEN WIDE

The most important tip to create great bokeh is open your lens to the fastest aperture. The faster your lens the better the bokeh you can achieve.

Fast prime lenses inherently have a shallow depth of field resulting in photos with blurry backgrounds. This is due to the larger aperture of the optics (i.e. f1.2, f1.8, etc.). For a more dramatic blurring effect, choose a lens with a greater focal length. See this example from Olympus Visionary Peter Baumgarten of the various bokeh effects possible with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO lens when taken using different aperture values.

Bokeh
Photo by Olympus Visionary Peter Baumgarten.
Bokeh
Photo by Olympus Visionary Frank T. Smith. OM-D E-M1 Mark II, M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, ISO 200, 0.6 sec, F4.0
2

GET CLOSE

Get close to your subject. The closer you are, the more bokeh will become apparent.
 

3

CREATE SPACE

Make sure you create space between your subject and the background. More distance increases your bokeh effect.

4

POSITION UP FRONT

Bokeh is not only for the background. Position some lights in the foreground of your subject and create beautiful bokeh effects close to your lens.

Gift Ornament
Photo by Olympus Visionary John Sterling Ruth. OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8. ISO1600, 1/100sec, F1.8.

Looking for more creative ways to use bokeh during the holidays? Check out this tip for Creating Christmas Tree Shaped Bokeh.

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