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How To Video
Create bokeh camera effectsLearn how to selectively focus your camera on a foreground subject while artistically blurring the background.
One of the most useful tricks you can do with your DSLR is to create a bokeh effect. Bokeh comes from the Japanese word for blur. And you see this effect all the time in portrait photography. The foreground subject is in sharp focus and the background is a beautiful, hazy, dreamy blur. If you've been wondering how to get a shot like this, I'm gonna show you how. [MUSIC] The trick to getting the shot is to crank your camera down to its lowest aperture setting. For example, the zoom lens that came with my camera stays right here. That's the lowest aperture setting is a 3.5. A lens with a 1.8 or a 2.3 would be even more dramatic. [MUSIC] But let's make this work. I'm going to put my camera into manual mode, or program mode, or aperture priority mode, where I can set the aperture, manually. On this camera, I can set the aperture using this dial, bringing it all the way down to a 3.5. Once the lens is letting in this much light, the image tends to blow out. If your camera isn't compensating for that, automatically, bring the ISO down until the exposure looks normal. Finally, let's focus in on our subject. And when you do you're going to notice that the background gets nice and blurry and then you can take the shot. [MUSIC] To see if we can take this further, let's try another location and another lens. This a 50 millimeter prime lens, which means no zoom, a fixed focal range, and in this case, a 1.8 for the lowest aperture setting, which is ideal. Again, we'll dial in the lowest number, which means the widest aperture, in this case 1.8, and then adjust the ISO and maybe even the shutter speed to get the exposure right. Focus and shoot. [MUSIC] Now if okay is so pretty, why not use it in every situation? Well. You're basically obliterating the background of anything you're shooting. If you're shooting a kid's birthday party or vacation photos, you want to have the background. You want to have the context. That's the whole reason for taking the shot. Second, when you have the aperture open this wide, it's very difficult to hold focus. There's very little margin for error, so maybe the subject's nose is in focus, but things start to get fuzzy around the ears. And if you're shooting something that's moving, forget about it. Bokeh is great for shooting portraits. It's great for shooting artsy photos of inanimate objects. Anything that's standing still. And now you know how to do it, So go out and give it a try. I'm Donald Bell. And for more tips on using your camera, head over to cnet/com/how-to. [MUSIC]