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16 Gorgeous Images of Bokeh

Themed Collections

20 October 2017

Posted by Tim Boddy

Most will be familiar with bokeh even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, but few can explain how it actually works. Much like fascinators, or the offside rule.

The word comes from the Japanese word boke, which translates roughly as “blur”, and the term has only been around relatively recently in photography terms, having first been used in 1997 by an editor of a photography magazine (Mike Johnston of Photo Techniques). However bokeh doesn’t directly refer to the out of focus blur you see in a lot of images that feature a shallow depth of field; bokeh is about the quality and feel of this blur, and reflected points of light. What the viewer sees is round disc-like shapes that appear in the image, the result of light reflections; and they are circular due to the way that the lens rendered them. It’s not to be confused with a different phenonem, lens-flare - although all you J.J. Abrams fans will know this already.

Macro and telephoto lenses are generally a lot better at producing “good” bokeh, once the aperture is opened up and lighting conditions are favourable. Whatever the science and technicalities of bokeh, we do know one thing: they can often make images look extremely pretty. Here are some of the most gorgeous examples on the Picfair library.

Silhouette of a ladybird, against a beautiful orange and purple background.

Silhouette of a ladybird, against a beautiful orange and purple background. Read less

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Krzysztof Winnik

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Image of flowers featuring a shallow depth of field, resulting in “good” bokeh.

Image of flowers featuring a shallow depth of field, resulting in “good” bokeh. Read less

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HOFHAUSER

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An egret hunting at sunrise time, surrounded by golden bokeh.

An egret hunting at sunrise time, surrounded by golden bokeh. Read less

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Tahir

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Colourful bokeh in an autumnal garden.

Colourful bokeh in an autumnal garden. Read less

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Marina

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A butterfly on a plant as bokeh swirls around.

A butterfly on a plant as bokeh swirls around. Read less

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Krzysztof Winnik

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Vintage miniature van in vintage color tone.

Vintage miniature van in vintage color tone. Read less

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Valentin Valkov

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Multiple apples in a barrel for "dunking" at a festival, featuring an incredibly shallow depth of field.

Multiple apples in a barrel for "dunking" at a festival, featuring an incredibly shallow depth of field. Read less

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Stuart Walker

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Raindrops on a glass surface with blurry abstract city lights resulting in bokeh.

Raindrops on a glass surface with blurry abstract city lights resulting in bokeh. Read less

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sirylok

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Blurred macro spider web in morning lights.

Blurred macro spider web in morning lights. Read less

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Tommy Lee Walker

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Tiny water droplets on the spikes of a cactus.

Tiny water droplets on the spikes of a cactus. Read less

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Anna Heath

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Pulsatilla grandis on the field with bokeh.

Pulsatilla grandis on the field with bokeh. Read less

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HOFHAUSER

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Bokeh blurred background of Kuala lumpur city light at night.

Bokeh blurred background of Kuala lumpur city light at night. Read less

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Mohd Ezairi

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Beautiful yellow lantern with bokeh background. Thai language on lantern reads 'We love king Rama IX'.

Beautiful yellow lantern with bokeh background. Thai language on lantern reads 'We love king Rama IX'. Read less

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pakkawit anantaya

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A cup of tea with biscuits, and bokeh above.

A cup of tea with biscuits, and bokeh above. Read less

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Jórunn Sjöfn Guðlaugsdóttir

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Candles in the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhak.

Candles in the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhak. Read less

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Pallab Kabir

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Big Ben and bokeh just visible in the background, with railing of snow at Royal Jubilee Bridge in the foreground.

Big Ben and bokeh just visible in the background, with railing of snow at Royal Jubilee Bridge in the foreground. Read less

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Lenny Carter

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