After successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign for the resurrection of Biotar 75mm f/1.5, Oprema Jena is bringing back its “little brother,” Biotar 58mm f/2.0. The lens features unique bokeh, and it’s very sharp even at wide aperture. However, one of its most interesting features is certainly the record number of 17 aperture blades.
To achieve massive and creamy bokeh, one of the first things we learn is to use a wide aperture. But there are several other ways that might just as effective. Do you know them all?
Making custom bokeh for your lenses can be a fun project. Usually, photographers do it by crudely cutting shapes out of a piece of black card and taping it to the end of our lens. But this method doesn’t allow for a lot of detail or intricacy. There’s also the Bokeh Masters Kit, which comes with some interesting laser cut custom shapes, and a few spare discs to make your own.
But whether you make your own from scratch, or use the Bokeh Masters Kit, there is another way to make your own custom bokeh designs. This method from photographer Micael Widell uses sheets of transparencies along with a printer to create his custom shapes. And in this video, he shows you how he does it.
Shooting with 200mm f/2, 135mm f/1.8 and 105mm f/1.4 lenses is the dream of many portrait photographers. But such lenses are not inexpensive. We may only have a kit zoom that will never give us the look we really want. But, there are other options. Stop down for sharpness, then simulate that shallow depth of field in post. It won’t look quite the same as doing it optically, but it’ll can get you pretty close with a little effort.
In this video, Unmesh Dinda from Piximperfect shows us an easy way to simulate a shallow depth of field in Photoshop. The technique involves using a depth map. This tells various plugins how far away something is. This allows us to get that blur falling off as we get further from the camera. It allows you to get that soft blurry background in just three simple steps.
Why only have round bokeh, when you can get it all sorts of shapes? You can achieve shaped bokeh by cutting a shape in black paper and placing it on the lens. Or if you’re too lazy or not really precise, you can even buy premade shapes. But what if I told you there’s a way to achieve square bokeh with nothing but a lens? Mathieu Stern presents you with a cheap lens that has a square aperture, so it creates super-interesting square bokeh.
If you enjoy experimenting with bokeh shapes, I’ve found a perfect tutorial for you. Mathieu Stern is known for his solutions which are so simple that they are ingenious. In under a minute, he’ll teach you how to create spectacular “bokeh explosion” with a simple modification of the lens.
When you see the word “bokeh” written, you probably see an image in your head to associate it with the word. But when you read it out loud, how do you do it? Is it “boh-key,” “boh-kuh,” “boo-kay” or something else?
Guys from Photogearnews asked photographers at The Photography Show how they pronounce it. There are so many different answers, that you may wonder whether yours is the right one. Well, in the video you’ll also hear what the correct pronunciation is from a reliable source. Ryu Nagase, Canon’s Product Management Director, will tell you the right way to say it.
We all love to spend money on the latest and greatest photo gear, whether it be a $120 reflector with a hole in it (I’m just jealous I didn’t market this myself haha 😉 ), or a $500 tube with LED’s inside! We love to spend money on our passion. But sometimes, you can create some fantastic looking shots for next to no money at all. I present to you, the wonders of the humble cling film!
Most of us shoot portraits with bokeh behind the subject. But what if we reverse the position of lights and the model? In this video, photographer Mark Wallace shoots portraits with front bokeh to create more playful indoor portraits. All you need is a camera, a model and a string of Christmas lights. It’s a simple trick and gives really good results.
This technique in a way emulates the look of being outside. It’s not exactly like this, but it does add some depth and interest to the photos. And it’s definitely fun for playing when it’s dark and cold outside. After watching the video, I tried it out myself for a few quick test shots. I made some portraits that are definitely more interesting than they would be with plain white background. And I had tons of fun, too.
Creating custom bokeh for lenses is something many of us try at some point. Even if it’s not something we’re ever going to do again, it’s fun to have a go at least once. We’ve mentioned the technique on the site a few times before. But, different lenses will render out of focus areas differently. The balls of blur will be difference sizes. So, how do you know what size hole to cut?
This video from the Kuldonov Brothers offers up a handy tip to get the size right. All you need is a compass. No, not the kind that’s built into your phone so your maps work. One for drawing circles. And it’s a pretty easy and straightforward process.