Bokeh 101: A Guide to Aperture & Styling Your Depth of Field | Indeana Underhill | Skillshare

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Bokeh 101: A Guide to Aperture & Styling Your Depth of Field

teacher avatar Indeana Underhill, Cinematographer & Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Bokeh


    • 2.

      Guiding Questions


    • 3.

      Principle of Photography Basics


    • 4.

      Comparing Focal Lengths


    • 5.

      The F Word


    • 6.

      Practical Approach


    • 7.

      Vintage Lenses & Bokeh


    • 8.

      Purchasing Lenses


    • 9.

      Wrapping It Up


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About This Class

Once you have the principles of photography in mind, it's important to learn how we can apply the theory to our own work. Many of us starting out want to be able to create a beautiful blurred or out of focus background- also known as a shallow depth of field and bokeh. But, how do we create it and how do we style it?

Like everything else from lighting to composition, choices are made. What choices are we making when we choose our lenses and f-stops? Do we want our subject to stand out from the background, compressing the background with a shallow depth of field? Or do we want the subject to be apart of their background with more in focus?

Testing and shooting is the only way to find out! So, join me to learn how we can make the right choices for our own look.

In this class, we look at:

  • A general overview of exposure and the principles of photography
  • Creating your own look in camera
  • Choosing lenses to enhance and change your depth of field
  • The control we have over lens compression and its relationship to our f/stop and exposure
  • Choosing appropriate backgrounds to maximize our depth of field
  • Getting experimental with vintage lenses 

Be creative, daring and take great photos!

For more of my photography classes ranging from beginner principles to intermediate development: 


Automatic to Manual Mode: The 3 Things You Need to Know

Amateur to Freelance: How to Develop a Portfolio

The Travelling Photographer: Choosing the Right Gear for Your Journey


Lens Choice: A Beginner's Guide

Lenses 101: Shooting with Primes

Lenses 101: Creativity with Vintage Lenses & DIY Filters


Lens Filters: Pushing Your Still Images

Advanced Lens Choice: Editing In-Camera

For more of my work, you can check out my instagram or website.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Indeana Underhill

Cinematographer & Photographer


Indeana is a Canadian cinematographer based in Los Angeles. She is an Associate Member of the CSC, a member of the ASC MITC Lens Committee and a graduate of American Film Institute's Cinematography Conservatory Class of 2020. 

With over 35 credits, she has worked professionally in South Korea, Greece, Spain, Scotland, Argentina, Qatar, Egypt, Canada & the US. Her background in photography has enabled her to continue to tell diverse stories through her lens.



See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to Bokeh: Hi, my name is Indiana and I'm a Canadian lifestyle and travel photographer. Over the past four years, I've been constantly on the move, on the go and traveling to over 28 countries. Through that, I've developed my own unique perspective in photography, one of the most important things is to create your own perspective, but it takes a while and it takes a lot of practice to learn them. There are a few different ways in approaching your own perspective in photography and the way of discovering that. In this class we're going to be looking at the relationship between Aperture and Bokeh. We're going to be learning a few things in this class. First, we'll be starting with that pyramid and the principles of photography and a quick overview. We'll be looking at one side of that pyramid and that's aperture and how that affects, how much is thrown off in the background, what's in-focus, what's out of focus, and by how much. Bokeh controls the background and it's done through the measurement of an F-stop. We're going to be taking a hands-on approach through two different exercises; one with the vintage lens, and one switching between focal lengths. Looking at lens compression, F-Stop, and overall environment. How can we get the most out of our aperture? How can we control it and what are some techniques in being creative? I hope you'll join me in this class about Bokeh 101, how to use aperture to create your own artistic look. Thanks. 2. Guiding Questions: One of the most important things to start out before we look at theory is who we are as a photographer. Perhaps you're just starting out or perhaps you just switched to manual mode from automatic. It's important we know the photo we're taking. Composition, when it comes down to it, is extremely important. Your depth of field should complement that. When we're setting up a frame, it's important to know what our frame looks like and then how do we evaluate from there the depth of field and the look we're going for. Having these specific and unique look takes time to build. You may have an idea in your head, but just like a painting, it's impossible to do it without the right tools. We have our camera here and we have a lens on, and we have the ability to switch to manual mode. A lot of people find manual mode very intimidating because automatic is automatic. It's easy to turn on and it's easy to begin taking photos. However, once you've switched to manual and you get the three principles of photography: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, you're able to quickly turn on the camera, set it up and shoot. Why I say everybody has to learn manual is of course, because then you've learned what's actually happening in camera when you take a photo, but you also learn how we can be creative with exposure. Automatic is a drawback because it exposes for us. Most art forms, photography, film-making, painting, drawing, all have to do with our perception of light and how we communicate that to create depth. However in automatic modes, were unable to expose for ourselves. What happens is wherever the focus is, it meters it for us and were unable to play unless we're shooting in Raph for post, which gives us the full color spectrum, but we're unable to play in camera. The only benefit of automatic to me starting out was composition and framing, and creating frames I liked and discovering that myself. Because it's really hard to create our look. We want to test and we want to experiment. So if you're just starting out in photography, yes, keep these principles in mind, but make sure you have a clear idea of your artistic eye, and how you're using that for your own look. The biggest piece of advice I've received in photography is that it's important to look at who you admire within the art world but it's important also to not copy their look, be inspired and take elements and then build on that with your own look. Perhaps you'd love to shoot from the hip and on a wide angle because your favorite photographer did that. But how can we make that unique to our own style? How can we play on that concept and create something completely new? That's where our look emerges and that's why we need to know the tools that this provides us. Because yes, someone will say to you, "What cameras are you shooting on, that's incredible." But in the end, it comes to the person behind the camera and that's you. A few questions we want to ask ourselves primarily is, are we ready to switch into manual? If not, are we ready to take the theory and look at when we're shooting an automatic, why it might be doing those things? What's the look we're going for? What do you admire and who do you admire? Where do you grab inspiration and how do you perceive light? I think it benefits you when we're looking at exposure to yes, take this tool, take this theory. But sometimes you won't have your camera on you, but that doesn't mean you can't practice. Creating depth in real environments, of course, is three-dimensional. How do we mimic that in camera? Whether you're shopping or you're going for food, or you're walking through the city or the suburbs, it's important to keep an eye for how would I capture that? What's the light-like? What do I feel about that light? It's harsh, it's soft. How would I capture that? After working in film-making and photography for close to half a decade now, I've created a mindset that whenever I walk into a place, I know the best seat to sit in, if it's a restaurant for lighting. I see the overhead, I see the shadows, and I see the mood. Depending on that, I know where I'm going to be happiest and I know how I can use that light. If I want to do a flat lay and take an over the top photography shot, lovely food. For example, whenever I walk into a restaurant, I'm always looking at the lighting. It's just passive at this point, but I'm noticing where the harsh shadows would be on my face, where the most beautiful soft lights are and the reflection coming from all that. As a funny anecdote on my mother's birthday, we were trying to take a photo together, but we were sat right below the horrible harsh lighting. All the photos were coming out really dark on her eyes beneath our nose and our chin, but really bright on our forehead and cheeks. How do I get a lovely photo with my mother? Well, I took the menu and like a photographer, and like a film maker, I asked my father to raise it above our head. Since it was a white menu, we still got a bit of the bounce from the table backup on us. It got rid of those harsh shadows. So our iPhone was able to expose properly and we had a better photo. It's weird things like that, that when you become more active in your own photography, even when you don't have this, you're noticing light and depth. How do we take that story or how do we take those examples? How do we create depth of field? We first need to start looking at the principles of photography, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The only way to do that is to shoot practical. Let's get outside and let's begin shooting. 3. Principle of Photography Basics: The rain has just fallen, which means it's a perfect setting to shoot outside. We're going to be talking about a general overview of automatic manual principles of photography. We're really going to do a one on one to look at depth of field and how it affects our image. Like I said, it's the perfect way of having a stylized look and developing your own look as a photographer. Today we're going to be working with a model that we have here, and we're going to be looking at practical examples of different lenses we want to use and the modes in the camera we want to use. Throughout this lesson, let's look at the relationship between two things, exposure and lens. Those are the two things that are going to allow you to change anything in camera. Those are the two things that will allow you to collaborate, to create your own look. Let's get started by looking at our principles of photography, the first thing that is mandatory when beginning to look at depth of field is our exposure triangle, and if you aren't familiar with that, I have done a full class, but let's do the basics right now. The three basics you need to learn before looking solely on depth of field is shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Aperture obviously controls how shallow your depth of field is, how much is in focus, what we're looking at. But in addition, we have to look at the triangle, we have to look at the two other sides, and that's ISO and shutter speed. Shutter speed is a formula that has to do with time, so it's per second or percentage of a second. That shows 1 over 50, 1 over 100, one second 30 seconds. Normally it caps out at about 8,000 frames per second, but it has to do with time. Focus has to do with distance, ISO has to do with sensitivity. When you have a camera sensor, you'll notice you'll get noise at different levels on your camera when you're playing with ISO. ISO is creating light that isn't there, it is boosting your camera sensitivity on your sensor, which means that you're seeing pixels more, the more sensitive the sensor gets. If I started at an ISO 160, which is the recommended starting point on a 5D mark III, you wouldn't see anything except a clean image, but when you're shooting at something like an 8,000, perhaps you're shooting a band in doors and it's super dark and you want to elevate those shadows and blacks, you'll see all this noise. It may be something you want in your image, but most of the time, you want to keep ISO as low as possible to make sure image quality is perfect for editing. Shutter speed has to deal with time, and it's fractions of seconds or seconds itself, that's how you get time-lapse photography. If you had 30 seconds, you're able to get astrophotography or the lights on the street as cars pass, when you see those famous city photos, where it's just lights and you don't see the cars, that's a longer shutter speed, however quicker one, it allows you to capture any motion at a higher speed, but normally it would be blurry. Now, one tip when you're shooting for shutter speed is, if you're doing handheld for portrait photography, like I'm about to with my model, you want to shoot on a minimum of 1 over 100, because below that it will be blurry. That's the ideal starting point, but if you can go a little higher, that's great. Now it's these three things, aperture, which we're going to be learning about, shutter speed and ISO. They'll tie into exposure and the exposure levels you want. Nothing blown out from highlights and nothing too dark for shadows. We want to keep it at an 18 percent gray, which means a proper exposure. Let's get started and let's look at how we can work with a model to best demonstrate aperture and depth of field. 4. Comparing Focal Lengths: Now we're going to be looking at lens compression and how that varies our depth of field in bokeh. Remember bokeh is what's thrown out in the back. That could be the shapes of the leafs thrown out of focus and how thrown out they are or that can be lights and night time, which we'll look at a few. First of all, we have our 50. You've seen what that does. You've seen our compression. We're going to take the exact same photo, same frame, different lens. Now, we've switched to an 85 and this is an 85 canon cine lens which opens up to 1, 3. When I say open up, remember that's an F1.3. We go down, we're going to stop down to a 2.8. Same thing. We're going to do the same frame. I'm going to look at the back of my camera and see what that frame was and we'll take three photos at the exact same angle and frame. So 85, I'm going to pull back, focus is on Ferris of course and let's take those photos. If I look at the back of my camera, that was our frame. I'm really having to pull back here. I'm having to manually focus. Let's get that. We've kept it on a 28, remember that. We're going to do that first portrait where we're getting close. We're going to do a mid shot. Our mid shot should be further back but about there yap perfect same pose yap exactly. Were manual so I'm just perfect. Great, now, that final pose, which was a close-up. Once again, I'm going to have to pull back some on an 85, a longer lens, which means we're going to have to be further back. Even for that close-up, let's turn to me first, chin up a little, yap perfect. If I look at my frame again, we need to mimic that. I'm coming into here, turning the barrel all the way, perfect. We kept it on 2, 8, now let's compare. Remember our 50 millimeter and are 85 millimeter lens. We have our 85 millimeter lens and our close-up shot, which is just Ferris head and shoulders, is completely thrown out the background, that's on a 2, 8 remember. When we compare it to the 50, we have more in focus. We can see the shapes of the leaves behind him. However, when we flip between the 50s, we can see once again that there's a shallower depth of field. We can see that on the 85 it's more shallow, even though we have the same settings than a 50. This is when your creative look comes back into photography because not only of course, are we composing the image and choosing our settings but now we can look at our lenses. That's the other part of the equation. We have exposure, which is aperture itself. But once we've set that, we have lenses. What's important for our composition and then also what's important for the depth of field we want to invoke. One of my first classes, I had to deal with lenses 101, lens compression. How we choose lenses. The study we did with a model at the end, we found that the longer the lens, the more their faces pulled back and like compression, the further the background comes to us. We don't see as much distance when we're on a longer lens. Now with Ferris, we can even see in these comparison photos how much his face changes, the shape of it. If we have a wider lens, the face spreads out of it. If we have a longer lens, they collapse. Which is why in fashion photography, normally I would start in 85 millimeter and go up from there so an 85 is a really beautiful portrait lens just FYI. Now, I've switched it up a bit and let's get a different frame. We can look at the depth of what's in front of us and what's behind. This is when we can get creative. I'm just going to open up for fun and go to a two instead of a two eight. Let's take a few photos of Ferris here and let's go close, let's go far on this 85 and let's take a look and we'll compare it to a 24 and 50. Remember where are at two, we're going to keep it at a two. Okay. Ferris, please just stand there. Let's cross your arms at your hip, yeah perfect, yeah exactly. Let's do that. Let's look down at your hands while you're doing that. Adjusting a ring, maybe. Perfect. Great. That's a really nice, shallow depth of field but because he's actually under that leaf it's still in focus a bit. Great. Continue. I'm just going to get something in the foreground so we can see how it blurs dependent on our focus. I'm going to get something really in the frame. Perfect. Yeah, looking down at your hand. Looking at me. Good. We can see when looking at this image, which is really exciting, foreground and background. Foreground obviously means it's closer to our camera, which as we know, the closer we get to something on a shallower depth of field, the more out of focus it is. Like I said, the longer the lens, the more depth of field, the closer you get, the more depth of field. If we put something right in front of the lens, on a longer lens, something that's in front of the subject we're trying to focus on, it's going to be very out of focus. If we look at this photo I've just taken, you can see the palm leaves behind him are slightly out of focus because he's standing just in front of them. But the opposite with these parts in front are almost not in the shot. You can't tell what they are. You can't tell what shape they are. But you know that there's something between us and him and that's this part. Then everything is out of focus behind as well. Let's take a closer shot. Let's see, where do we want to move him? Let's go to low angle just to get this and see what it actually looks like. Ferris, if you take one step towards me. Great. Just like that and one step over here into the bush. Yes, exactly. Now I'm going to go to low angle because this, although it looks like at the same distance to you, I would imagine it is actually coming out a bit. Let's try a low angle. I don't know how flattering that will be, but we're on an 85 so let's see. Now, like I said, in 85 is going to be really great for the features. Because it's getting a little dark, I'm going to boost it to a 2,000 ISO and keep it at a two. Perfect. Look down at your hands. Perfect. Great. As we can see, there is a slight difference in the depth of field as well. But if I'm going to shoot as an example through these leaves now, perfect. We actually have if we can see multiple palms behind him. Let's see what that depth looks like. We're on his eyes pulling manually. We're on it two. Take a few shots. Look at that depth. We have one palm leaf right behind him. That's really interesting, we can see that this plant, It's changing in depth because it's closer to us or further. Then we can see the palm right behind him slightly in focus and everything else distance wise is out of focus. It's interesting because now we're allowing the shapes to take part of our image. We're choosing what shapes these leaves are based on where we're putting our subject and we're choosing how out-of-focus those leaves and that background is. We're getting a great shape behind his head when we're closer. But once again, as you can see, the further we are away, the more that's in focus. 5. The F Word: I have my model here with me today Ferris, we're currently in Cairo as they said. Ferris is mostly involved in acting, but I've made him my model today, and we're going to be testing depth of field on him. For portrait photography, because we're a little more close up, it's a lot easier to examine depth of field. Because as a tip, the closer you go to a subject no matter what lens, the shallower the depth of field gets, the longer the lens the more shallow it gets. That has to deal with our lens expression of the relationship I was talking about, but the first part is exposure. We briefly know about shutter speed and ISO. Then the third wall there on the triangle is aperture. Aperture is the key ingredient in comparing depth of field and how out-of-focus things are in the background. I'm shooting on my 50 millimeter 1.4 lens, on a 5D Mark III, and I have it of course on Manual Mode. I'm always shooting in manual, because it allows me to get the exposure I want. The camera in automatic is going to tell you something different, based on the overall light level. However, how do we take that light level and then compensate, based on stop? I've switched over to manual and am going to start an ISO 160, and that's because the lower. Again we keep our ISO the better the image quality. I don't want to touch ISO unless I have to and so we're starting on ISO 160, then we're going to start on a 2A on this lens and then compensate with my shutter speed to make sure it's exposed the way I want it to be. You have to balance out these three walls in order to get the proper image you want. Keep ISO low, if you don't need anything to do with time and that formula, use shutter speed as your exposure compensation for what your f-stop is. I'm starting on a 2A, which is a really nice f-stop because on most lenses they're actually made to start at 2A, not a four or a 5.6. Some minimums? Yes, on wider or on starter key lenses are a four, but if you can get a lens so it's minimum 2A, that'll give you the best depth of field without it being completely out of focus and soft even when it says it's in focus. We're going to take an example of a 2A, and then we'll move to a four and a 5.6, will go incremental in the stops of an f-stop and we'll see exactly how we can compare them. Ferris, just going to double-check. Because it's getting darker right now, I'm going to boost up to a 3.20 ISO. Then that gives me a nice amount of light. I haven't lost my shadows and highlights aren't clipping and so my mid tones are perfect. Let's give this a track. Ferris is just going to put his hands in his pockets. We're going to do a very basic pose, and he's just going to look at the camera. Close smile. Perfect. That was good, we're going to get a bit more if we turned to the side this way. I've changed for us into this position because I really want to show you what's happening in our background. We have this beautiful leafy plant. In order to show you what that depth of field looks like and how out-of-focus it is in the background. I want him to be somewhat of a nice distance, but at the same time enough that in this image on a 2A. You're going to be able to see, what's out of focus and how much is in focus of Ferris. We're going to take another photo. Yeah. Perfect. Great. I'm adjusting my focus as I move around with that half click, perfect, exactly is like that. Great, so as you can see on the 2A, it's pretty out of focus. Your aperture, like shutter speed has a measurement, and that is called an f-stop. Then f-stop, allows you to see how much light is being let into the camera. A larger number f-stop like a 22, which is normally a maximum on a lens, means that it's going to be a closed iris, so obviously less light is being led in. A wide open as we call it lens, means that we're on a lower f-stops. That can be a 1.2 for example, on this lens, this 50 millimeter 1.4, I'm shooting at a 2.8 currently over the minimum is 1.4. That's pretty much a mid-range lens. If they get more expensive, the lower the f-stops. Each lens has, as I said stops on it. It goes from a 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.8,4 ,5.6 ,8 ,16 ,22. Your iris is more closed or more open, or lower the number, the more open, more light that gets in, the higher the number, the more close, the less light. But the way you change it, is the lower the number again means that the more shallow depth of field is. The more light you let in with aperture, the lower the f-stop, the more shallow depth of field is. However, when you go to something like an F8 or an F16 or an F22, you'll be able to see that yes, we are getting more in focus, but we have to compensate again with either that shutter speed or that ISO to get the proper exposure. We're going to shoot on a 2.8, and I have Ferris with a little bit of green leaves in the background, which is a perfect color, just right in the Cairo. We're going to be seeing that color difference between this beautiful blue and that green and you'll be able to see the separation. We're shooting on a 50, so keep that in mind, that's a mid range between a wide and it's telephoto which will be testing. Let's see on a 50 what that compression looks like. Same thing? Yeah, little lower on the chin, lower chin? Yeah, perfect. Yeah, we'll take another one, great. You'll be able to see that the green leaves are out-of-focus and Ferris is perfectly in focus. The shallower we get if we went down to a 1.4 meaning we're letting in a lot of light. I will have to compensate. Now, because I have more light in the camera, I can get rid of that 320 ISO and go down to a 160, meaning the pixels are not as sensitive, so we have a better image quality. Keep ISO low if you can, and I still know what's going to be bright, because I only went down two stops in ISO. I'm going to have shutter speed and because I'm not doing anything with time-based like a leaf moving or him running and I don't need to capture that. I don't care about shutter speed. I'm going to take a look, on the back of my camera, how blown out it is, and I see it's about one-stop blown out. So I'm just going to flip over to a 160 shutter speed. We're on a 1.4 f-stop, a 160 on shutter speed, which is one over a 160, and a ISO 160 as well. Let's see what a 1.4 does, instead of 2A on this 50 millimeter lens. Same position please, yeah, perfect. Great. As we can see here, it's completely blurry in the back, and we have a really nice step the field. A lot of people when they start to get new lenses, will shoot wide open to completely tests with that looks like, so such a beautiful look we're getting. To be able to shoot this in camera, is difficult sometimes, because currently I'm shooting on a 1.4 and I want Ferris to be in-focus. However, if we zoom up, we can see that the edges of his hair, because that so shallow is out of focus. Do I want that? I just want half of his face and focus. Then that's what our audience that's really drawn to, or do I want everything in focus? If I do, I need to stop down. The higher the number, the less light we get. Maybe I do like that 2.8, but let's try a four. Let's go on the opposite side. We're stopping down three stops, so three levels and those increments. We're going to be taking the same photo again, but I'm shooting on manual, so I am going to have to change my settings again. Now when you get used to this, it's really quick, all I do normally now is turn on my camera, figure out what style I want, is it shutter speed base, is it aperture base, it's never ISO base, unless it has to be. Then from there I compensate. I know if I move it two stops this way I go two stops ISO, or two stops shutter speeds. We're on a four, which means we've come down three stops, and so we're going to have our ISO. I'm going to raise it up to 320 again, and I'm going to check on the back of my camera. That's still a bit dark. I'm going to go down to a 125 on shutter speed, so one over a 125. Then I'm going to raise my ISO to a 640. If we look at that, we're at a good level right now. Saying close, please. Perfect. Great. As we can see, we can still get now a bit more shape in the background. Maybe we know what's behind him compared to other 1.4. But we see that everything on his face, and his hair is in focus. That's how we can look at style, and how much depth of field we want and the artistic look behind it. We've looked at what stops look like and how much light we're letting in depending on them. We have showed 1.4, 2.8 and four. But now I want to look at distance. What does it look like if we stay on a 2.8, the sweet spot, and we go towards Ferris, and we go back from Ferris. Yes it's going to change our frame. But for this approach, we want to look at how shallow that depth of field gets, the closer we get to him. We're going to go back to a 2.8. We're going to go to an ISO 320, and let's keep it on a 125, on shutter speed. I want a little more light, so I'm just going to go to 400 ISO. Let's move a little closer, my minimum focus, which it can be found on the front of the lens, is 0.45 meters or one and half feet, so I may just be at minimum, but let's check. A nice practice is started at minimum, and see where the eyes on focus. we can see just by moving back and forth with that looks like. Now, that we know we can go minimum with him, let's take that photo. I'm going to move in, I'm going to move in. We're on a 2.8, and we can see that everything's out of focus. Now, if he stays where he is, and then I go back a little bit. I have automatic focus on, let's focus on his eye and then re-frame. That's always the perfect way of getting focus. Half click on the eye, re-frame a little, half click to make sure it's there and perfect. Yeah. Great. Same everything, same settings, same lens even, but it was our distance. Now, we're choosing with our body, our depth of field, and how we're going to change that. Yes, the framing is different, but we can see exactly that 2.8, changes a lot depending on distance. We have to begin looking at that distance, lens and f-stop. How much light we are letting in the camera, how far away we are from the subject and how our focal length looks. Let's do a final one, where I'm going to exit frame because I'm going to really come back. Ferris going to do the same thing, and I'm going to pull back and let's see. From further distance. Yeah. Great. Yeah. In this image we can see yes, it's thrown off a bit in the back. But we're still getting a nice [inaudible] , because we see the shapes and the environment of where he is. But the focus is still drawn to his lovely face. 6. Practical Approach: I'm switching to a 50 here, and we're going to open up to a two again, and let's get a few of the same shots. Let's play around with it, but you'll be able to see the difference in what's in front of our subject and what's behind [inaudible] , and how, although we're on a two, we switched with our lenses so the compression is going to be different, our background is going to be separated a bit more, and more is going to be in focus. Let's do some further away, let's do some close up, and the results. Okay. Same kind of frame, I want a 50, focusing on his eyes again. Perfect. Yep. Then I'm going to do the shoot through, focusing on him again. As you can see, it's further away than the 85 so there will be less distortion in front of the lens. We're going to shoot the lower shot here. Once again, it's further away because we're on a wider lens than the 85. Then we're just going to do the straight on one right beside the camera, so try and get that depth. Can we take a step this way, please? Yes. Perfect. Great. Even though we're still on a two, how different the focus is in the background versus the foreground versus his features, how much they're in focus. That's a example of lens compression and how that alters your depth of field. The closer you move, once again, the more shallow the depth of field. The longer the lens, the more shallow depth of the field. If you're [inaudible] that you want really shallow bouquet in the back, then what we want to do is maybe go on a longer lens, on an 85 or 100 or on the 70-200 lens. We max out at the 200, and then we get no shape behind him, but we get that color and we get the light. If we want a little wider but maybe slightly thrown out, go on a 35 or a 50, choose your distance, choose your frame, and test out what f-stop you like. Maybe it's a two-way, maybe it's a 1/4, or maybe it's a 16, where we can get everything in his environment. It's brilliant when we can change our f-stop for the environment and completely alter our perception of how that photograph is taken. If we go shallower, were unaware of the background, but if we go on a 16 or even a 22, everything's in focus. It completely changes the look of each photo for our audience. It puts them in context or it throws them out of it, and that's the beauty of depth of field. 7. Vintage Lenses & Bokeh: So now just for fun, I wanted to bring out one of my vintage lenses, which is the Helios 44-2. This was made in USSR and it has what we call a lens defect, even though that's the entire reason we purchase it nowadays. You can buy it for about $15 and it's a 58 millimeter lens, an f2. It produces an incredible bokeh in the background, which it's famous for, as I said. It's because the aperture blades come in to form a different size, meaning that your bokeh in the background also has a different shape. So let's take a look. We'll bring in our model and we'll take a few different photos and you can see how we can get creative with different lenses beyond lens compression. Great. Let's bring in our model. So we've brought in Ferris again and we're going to be looking at what settings I start. So automatically I turned on my camera and we're in bright daylight. It's not ideal because we have blue skies, meaning it's harsh sunlight and then really dark shadows. The best time to shoot is when it's overcast if you're doing portrait photography or during golden hour, of course, so sunrise, sunset. So I turned on my camera automatically. I'm going to 160 ISO to keep it absolutely as low as possible, because as we talked about, the lower the ISO, the better the image quality. When you're shooting in Raw it's perfect because later on you're going to want to play with that. So we're on an ISO 160. Again, I don't care about the speeds of how we're taking the photo. I care that it's passed one over 125 of a second because I want to hand hold it and I don't want it to become blurry. Currently, it's on 1000, so one, one-thousandth of a second that it's capturing. With this, it will go darker because the shorter amount of time that we let light in, of course, the darker it is. So I know I want on this lens because it works perfectly on a 2-8. So I set the lowest as an f2 so when we go to a 2-8, we're going to get that perfect distance and depth of field behind our model here, and we'll be able to see how the bokeh surrounds him and draws attention to the audience automatically. So I have it on 1000, ISO 160, and 2-8. Now this is a manual lens, of course, so we have to take our time because it's vintage glass, which means it's softer. So let's do a test shot. Great. We can already start to see that behind him here with our background is getting a swirly bokeh, meaning that automatically once again, our eye is drawn to him. It's beautiful when we're able to play with texture and distance with this lens. So obviously this is beside him, it will be more in focus. These are behind and then we even have another layer here. So with that, we're able to find depth within our images in addition to our light. So keep that in mind when you're shooting with something like this. Let's try that again. Let's remove the sunglasses. Perfect. Great. Now we're going to try and shoot really with a distance here. So this guy, obviously, is going to be overexposed. Chin down a little bit. Looking off into the distance. Great. The great thing about manual lenses is you feel like you have complete control. Of course we're shooting on manual, but in addition with a manual lens, we're really able to see how that feels and it's a great thing to be able to operate your own camera like that. Let's try taking half a step forward. Let's get more distance behind him. So because I'm on a shallow depth of field, it's going to be a very fine pull between what's in focus and what's not. For instance, now because I've pulled him forward, we have a bit more separation between the first layer here. So let's see what that looks like. So cute. Let's face this way. Yeah, exactly. Tilt your chin up because we want to see the light on your face a little more. Now we're focusing in on that. So if I go down to 640th of a second, that's 640th of a second, I'm going to actually film what my view is when I'm taking this photo. So you can see. So I'm going to actually record what we're seeing in camera. I've gone down to one over 160th of a second. You can see how fine that focus pull is on his depth of field. So we have to be very careful to make sure his eyes are in focus. So when we do that, you can see already in the background how that bokeh changes based on the distance away and how it's swirling in specifically on the left side with the flowers. So let's take that photo. Great. I'm just going to go a bit darker, the pause. I can bring up the levels on his face. We just want to get rid of all those shadows, of course. Perfect. Let's do a portrait like that. Take half a step forward again. Perfect. Let's get those levels in there. Something really fun, if we step back here, Ferris, if you just come in and maybe get right into this here. Yeah, and you're facing me. Face me this way. Perfect. Yeah, perfect. I'm going to go on minimum, which is actually 0.5 meters. So let's see. Let's see if we get a lot of room in the back. We're going to change 2.7. Yes. Perfect. We're a little bright, so I want to face him away from the light for a second. So Ferris, can you please step over here. I've changed Ferris' position a bit because it's great. We're going to really play with this. So this is a great example of how our environment can really enhance our photos. So we know the swirls; we have a swirly bokeh. Then in the back actually, we have branches that are coming around. So let's see how we can get creative here. We're still on a 2-8 on this lens, were 500th of a second right now. So let's try this out. I'm going to try and be on a 0.8 meters for focus, so let's see where that brings us. Great. I'm going to stand back just a bit. Let's try a bit of depth here. Perfect. Much better. You're going to look right at the camera. Yeah, perfect. Keep those eyes. Yeah. The reason I'm doing this angle is because we really want those branches in the back and I love that look. I don't know what you guys think, but I think that's fantastic. So if we take a look, look at how fine this focus pull is. That's barely moving it. But look at that depth. Look at that depth. It's beautiful. That's just one example of how we can really play with our lenses. Yes, we have lens compression, but it's important, especially with vintage lenses, which are a lot of fun to play with, that the glass inside is vintage as well. It'll change the glare, it'll change the depth of field, and the interaction with distance will probably change as well. So it's important, but yes, we're paying attention to focal length. Again, the longer the lens, the more compression, the background comes towards you, the facial features pull back a bit. The wider the lens, the less depth of field and the facial features come out of it. So it's important to really research and observe what's working about these vintage lenses and how you can get creative with your depth of field and the shapes. So that's a great example of how a vintage lens can help you out your depth of field. 8. Purchasing Lenses: We've already looked at exposure and lens compression in a practical setting. Now it's important to look at what lenses we actually need in our bag to start with. Knowing which lens is to start out with, will best help you begin to develop your own skill set. We've looked at a 50 and then 85, two of my favorite focal lengths. But you've been able to already see what that depth of field looks like on a longer versus a mid focal length. What's important for us for our look? like i said before, is it more important for you to have your subject within the environment, everything in focus? Or is it more important for you to have a shallow depth of field behind your subject to throw off everything and just have the focus on them. Although you might want to do both, we have to look at what can we start with, the budget we have and making things a priority? What does that look like? As I said, a 15,85 are two of my favorite focal lengths. Normally a camera kit may come with an 18 to 55 or 24 to 105, or some long range zoom lens. It's where you would get a prime lens. Remember that primes are fixed focal length and zooms have multiple focal lengths. They'll start at a wide and then they'll go to telephoto or the [inaudible]. I started out with a 18 to 55, and a 50 millimeter, 1.8 fantastic lenses that really got me started by, because at the time I didn't know that a longer focal length, had any difference compared to a 50 mill or a 24 mill. I wasn't really getting as creative as I could have with my own style. It was only until later that I learned that the longer the focal length, this more shallow depth of the field, the lesson focus but the more the features press back with lens compression. In my experience, I'd start out with definitely that 50 millimeter 1.8. It's a beautiful, lens with a great color profile, and it's very inexpensive. It's about 50 to $75, and I always love getting things used, so it's a great lens to begin with because it has that low f-stop on a 1.8. If we remember the lower the f-stop, the more light lead-in. But in turn, for creativity, the shallower, the depth of field. The 50, it's just over what the human eye sees so it's a very real portrait lens. Also with that prime, that 50 millimeter lens, it's important, I think to have a zoom whether that's an 18 to 135, or a 24 to 105. Starting out with an all around lens that you can bring with you on vacation and you don't have to worry about switching it out, helps you get practice when beginning to look at this and frame it. Normally on zoom lenses, the more inexpensive they are, the higher the start of the f-stop. On the very beginner starter lenses, the 18 to 55, for example, has a range of a 4 to a 5.6. That means as you zoom in, the focal length actually increases, so you're not saying at a shallow depth of field when you go in. But that's okay because with Lens compression, it will still be more shallow when you go to a 105 versus a 24. But if you're looking at something in-between, let's first look at what your composition and look is. What does the environment you're mostly going to be shooting in? Having the widest range for focal lengths within a zoom is beneficial for discovering your own look. A 24 to 105, or a specific zoom that covers that range, is great. A lot of the starter lenses, they'll have a range, meaning that the more you zoom in, the higher the minimum f-stop is, so it's never continuous throughout the lens. The reason why zoom lenses actually started a higher F-stop and don't go to a one-point like a 50 millimeter, is because it's a longer lens. As the light enters, you lose stops of light until it hits your sensor. I think one prime and one zoom are the perfect formula for starting to build and develop your own look, discovering what depth of field can do. A 50 millimeter 1.8, keeps your depth of field low, allows you to play with minimum focus, I think it's a 0.45 meters, and then it allows you as well to switch over to the zoom to play between a 24,50,85, and finally a 100 millimeters. You can easily explorer or you can take it with you. It's an all-around lens and it's still allows you get that depth of field when you want it. Picture yourself and what you plan to be doing for your first months or years in photography, and look at how you're going to be building your own lens set. It's important to keep that in mind because photography is expensive. We want to make sure we're investing in the right gear for our look. 9. Wrapping It Up: That's been Bokeh 101, I hope you've learned not only about the reminders of the principles of photography and the triangle of exposure, aperture, ISO and shutter speed, but the focus on aperture itself and how that expression between aperture and Bokeh are related. It should be a decision that we're making to control that creativity and have our own style within our photographs. If you have any questions, please comment below, and if you'd like some feedback on your photos concerning depth of field or anything else, feel free to post them in projects. For more of my classes that deal with basic to intermediate skill sets, visit my teacher profile page, and I hope you enjoyed Bokeh 101. Thanks.