How To Get The Best Bokeh

Composition is King.

Composition will make or break your image, so get it right or give up photography for ever. Well at least until you have learnt some things. Sometimes the right composition is as simple as moving the camera a few inches this way or that way, sometimes it can make a huge difference.

And of course things like Rule of Thirds and Bokeh are important to composing the best shot you can.

In the two pictures below that are straight from the camera I moved just a little bit lower and got the sun flare in the water for shot #2 and I think you will agree it is better composition than shot #1. So be sure to look very carefully at the scene.

Composition is king
Shot #1 straight from the camera and well composed shot.

Composition is king
Shot #2 with the lens flare. This is a better composition

Line up the shot carefully.

In the next 2 shots also straight from the camera look at the position of the distant lighthouse. In shot #2 I moved my camera on it's tripod a foot to the right. This gets the lighthouse in a much better position and so a better composed image.

Leaves and good composition
Just moving the camera ever so slightly.

Leaves and good composition
Gets the distant lighthouse in a better place..

Composition is really about looking very carefully at the scene you are about to shoot. Very often you see a nice vista and click goes the button, OK, you might have a good shot in the can, but with a little care and imagination you could have a WOW shot in the can. What would you prefer?

Remember in all my other tutorials I keep saying to take lots of shots from different positions and choose the best one later. But that only works if one of them is the right shot, right?

Don't get too tight on the shot.

Lighthouse and rocks, bad composition
Don't zoom in too close and not get it all in.

Lighthouse and rocks, good composition
Better to move back a bit or zoom out to get it all in.

Look carefully at the scene.

Getting A Dappled Background for Bokeh
Don't put things too near the center and don't get too low down.

Getting A Dappled Background for Bokeh
Better to rise to the occasion and get a much better composition.

Guiding lines and image balance.

When you see something like a lighthouse and think to yourself. what a great shot that will be. STOP right, there and get your thinking cap on. How can you show it off to the best advantage? Where should it be placed in your image. To the left or the right? To the top or the bottom. Or dead center?

All are good places and they can all work for the image, but only if the other objects in the scene around it give it some balance. Think of leading lines. A foreground, middle ground and background. They all needed to make up a good composition.

Composition for trhe lighthouse
Be sure to get something to guide the eye into the picture.

Composition is about getting the balance right. The lighthouse can go just about anywhere you want it to go, but you have to get the other things right also.

So now is a good time to look around you, what can you make use of? What will enhance your image and show off that beautiful lighthouse. Look carefully and think of the finished picture. Will it have the WOW factor.

Both of the images below work well as both have guiding lines and good balance. You can not move the lighthouse or the rocks so you have to move. Stand on a rock and get some height. Lie down and see it from another different angle.

Composition for trhe lighthouse
Dead center can also work for the composition.

Composition for trhe lighthouse
Also the rule of thirds is good for composition.

Creating a Balanced Image.

It is all about going the extra mile to get what you want, don't be afraid to get wet, just be careful of how you go about it, rocks and seaweed are slippery things. I was up to my knees in the water to get the shot below, but it was worth it just to get all of the objects in balance.

Composition for trhe lighthouse
Getting the balance right, might mean getting wet.

Imagination. It is all in the mind.

If you are going into photography in a serious way you will need Adobe Photoshop or maybe Adobe Elements or maybe another similar program. I use Adobe Photoshop and it helps a lot to be able to correct and enhance the photo as I always shoot in RAW format as should you. RAW gives the most photographic details in the image and more is always better, right.