Project 52: Bokeh | Week 27

July 07, 2017  •  11 Comments

It's Week 27 of professional pet photography blog circle Project 52 and our topic for the week is "bokeh." What is bokeh, you ask? Well, it's the out of focus elements in an image or shallow depth of field. Some lenses are better at creating a bokeh than others. Bokeh is a Japanese word pronounced like the BO of Bojangles and KAY like the letter 'K.' You usually get a great bokeh effect when you shoot with your lens wide open (at the smallest numbered aperture, such as f/1.4.) All of my images for this week were shot with my new 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4 to get the most bokeh I could out of my images.

Mr. Bojangles was very happy to make his big weekly blog comeback last Friday, so I decided to keep the momentum going and include pictures of him, as well as one of Paco. All of these were shot in our backyard.

In this first image you can see how most everything in the image is blurred, which is the effect that we are going for. I always try to focus on the eyes, as they are the most important feature of anyone, whether human or animal. As you can see, there are some other features of his face that are also in focus, which is because they were on the same focal plane as his eyes. His nose, however, is out-of-focus, because it was not on the same focal plane.

Our next image shows less in focus than on Mr. Bojangles, because Paco lacks the scruff. So, there are less elements on the same focal plane as Paco's eyes.

Our third image was taken farther away, so you can see more of the background and the bokeh effect on the light shining on the trees. Because it was taken farther away than the other two images, the focal plane changes so that more features are less out of focus, but there is still a lot of background blur.

Shooting to create a strong bokeh effects allows more of the focus to be drawn to the subject, especially in images that are closer up. It's also a great way to soften and disguise background distractions (which we didn't really have any of in these images.)

For more blurring of the lines, head down under to visit Jodie from Pawtrait Purrfection, serving Pets and People in Ipswich, Australia, and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session in your home or other favorite location, use the hot pink "BOOK NOW" button to the right of this post (at the bottom or your screen on mobile), send us an email to suzi [at], or give us a call at 513-288-1650 in the Greater Cincinnati area or at 650-382-3242 in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Love the examples, and especially the third image with the chaise! I love everything about that image!
Danyel Rogers(non-registered)
Mr Bojangles! Love it. Reminds me of the movie Green Mile. Nicely done.
Gorgeous images! I bet you are loving that lens! Love that capture in the 2nd image - perfect focus of those beautiful eyes! That leopard chaise is amazing!
I love my 50mm f1.4, it's definitely my workhorse lens! It is a very easy weight to work with too. The soft dreamy look here suits both of your dogs so well!
Aww Mr Bojangles! I love his beard! Lovely photos.
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