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Thread: Boken in portrait is unwanted.

  1. #1

    Default Bokeh in portrait is unwanted.

    Just took some portraits for a 'client', found that she does not like the bokeh effect as i have isolated the background.
    I was using 50/1.8 at around f2.5 to 4, subject distance is 1-2 metres. Instead, she likes the night shoot ones which i shot at fullerton and i focus just a little behind her and aperture at f16.

    Anybody has this experience? Now, a $500 digicam can do better than a 5k dSLR + lens in this instance.
    Last edited by 2100; 14th June 2004 at 12:17 AM.

  2. #2

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    Have you tried playing around with the aperture?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by togu
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    Have you tried playing around with the aperture?
    Can lar, i mean traditionally people pay big bucks for good bokeh and 2.8 zooms or 1.4 primes. Then you go shoot something in which people pay you and not you pay them to model. Bang, "Not good leh, why not sharp, i want it to be sharp". Bummer..... shd have communicated with client more first.

  4. #4
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    i experienced before and understand how u feel. they want background to be in otherwise will feel waste of effort going down to site if background turn out blur. so to play safe, better take both

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITD
    i experienced before and understand how u feel.
    I have shown the bokehed shots to my wife and another gal, both also don't like. Mum-in-law is neutral, cannot appreciate. I think quite a fair number of people cannot appreciate bokeh, it's just in the minds of us photogs?

    But the site is impt, i feel. Say you go to Marina promenade and make use of the SG skyline, you still need the general shape blobs to make the photo effective even if you use the rule of thirds and 2/3rds is bokehed with buildings. And no matter how much you bokeh with a 200/2.8, a longkang still looks lousy as the background.
    Last edited by 2100; 14th June 2004 at 12:27 AM.

  6. #6

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    the way they see things is not "artistic" lor

  7. #7
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    Minor nitpicking point : you don't bokehed things. You blur backgrounds, you don't bokeh them. Technically speaking, bokeh only refers to the way out of focus highlights in the back ground are rendered. Having a blur background is not having good or bad bokeh. Good bokeh means that out-of-focus highlights are rendered creamy and smooth and isn't jarring, distracting from the main subjec. The lens with the lousiest bokeh in the world can give you a blur background if the focal length is long enough or if the aperture is big enough.

  8. #8

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    imo, most scenic shots dont look good with a shallow depth of field. imagine photographing someone at a viewpoint overlooking a breath-taking scene of a city, only to discover later on that the entire urban portion of the picture has been transformed into mash potatoes!
    ...okay, bad comparison

    i find that beautiful bokeh usually complements half-body (or less) portraits whereby the subject fills up about 2/3 of the frame. with the lack of background detail however, the subject here will need to be alot more interesting by whatever means possible. pose, make-up, jewellery, clothing, expression, dramatic lighting, blah blah blah...

    cheers

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Just took some portraits for a 'client', found that she does not like the bokeh effect as i have isolated the background.
    I was using 50/1.8 at around f2.5 to 4, subject distance is 1-2 metres. Instead, she likes the night shoot ones which i shot at fullerton and i focus just a little behind her and aperture at f16.

    Anybody has this experience? Now, a $500 digicam can do better than a 5k dSLR + lens in this instance.
    If it's a portrait with a significant background, i think it's more 'artistic' to have the background clear - tack sharp, in fact - than blur.

    As for the $500 digicam doing better, well, both are just tools. The digicam is inherently a smaller format, and along with the terrority comes high DOF as well as lower quality and less enlargeablility. A photog should know the strengths and unsuitabilities of his tools.

    A 50mm straddles the 'sharp background' and 'blur background' focus lengths - nothing is really blurred to cream and nothing is really sharp and crisp. This has to be taken into account if you're intending to deliver nice 'bokehed' pictures. i would prefer to go 35mm or wider for clear backgrounds and 85 or longer for a nicer blur.

    Just my 2c.

  10. #10

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    if you were to fill up more of the frame with their faces - the bokeh will work better.

    if you were to give it a 50-50 distribution, perhaps a sharper background would then be better.

    i guess there're instances where bokeh is impt and instances where bokeh is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    A 50mm straddles the 'sharp background' and 'blur background' focus lengths - nothing is really blurred to cream and nothing is really sharp and crisp. This has to be taken into account if you're intending to deliver nice 'bokehed' pictures. i would prefer to go 35mm or wider for clear backgrounds and 85 or longer for a nicer blur.
    Hmm, perhaps you should read this
    Do Wide Angle Lenses Really Have Greater Depth of Field Than Telephotos?

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    "In fact, if the subject image size remains the same, then at any given aperture all lenses will give the same depth of field." - MR

    linse, that quote is from your link. But we're not talking about DOF, we're talking about bokeh, or more specifically how *fast* the background blurs wrt to distance (and how pleasantly).

    Look carefully at MR's pics in the link: at diff FLs, when the subject size is the same, the DOF is the same , BUT THE BOKEH IS NOT. The perspective is different, and the smoothness of the blur is different too. That's the point.

  13. #13
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    It actually depends on what you take dude. For wedding shots, it's better to take full length with clear backgrounds, unless you are focusing on closeups for bride/bridegroom.

    For my case, I usually use a wide angle and take all clear shots, including subject and background.
    Kind Regards
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    "In fact, if the subject image size remains the same, then at any given aperture all lenses will give the same depth of field." - MR

    linse, that quote is from your link. But we're not talking about DOF, we're talking about bokeh, or more specifically how *fast* the background blurs wrt to distance (and how pleasantly).

    Look carefully at MR's pics in the link: at diff FLs, when the subject size is the same, the DOF is the same , BUT THE BOKEH IS NOT. The perspective is different, and the smoothness of the blur is different too. That's the point.
    Quite succiently explained.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgo
    For my case, I usually use a wide angle and take all clear shots, including subject and background.
    Do u use very small apertures then? I guess these are outdoor shots? Cos indoor under warm lights, quite hard to f/16 or f/22.... I usually use manual f5/6 1/30 and bounced flash... the background is slightly blurred bec of the shallow DOF... no bokeh to talk of at all... thanks!

    P.S. No/miniscule experience with outdoor wedding shots though....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    "In fact, if the subject image size remains the same, then at any given aperture all lenses will give the same depth of field." - MR

    linse, that quote is from your link. But we're not talking about DOF, we're talking about bokeh, or more specifically how *fast* the background blurs wrt to distance (and how pleasantly).
    For your information, we are talking about depth of field. See justarius post. How *fast* the background blurs wrt distance is not bokeh.


    Look carefully at MR's pics in the link: at diff FLs, when the subject size is the same, the DOF is the same , BUT THE BOKEH IS NOT. The perspective is different, and the smoothness of the blur is different too. That's the point.
    The bokeh is not the same because the lens used is different. Bokeh is dependent on the design of the lens, not the focal length.


    A 50mm straddles the 'sharp background' and 'blur background' focus lengths - nothing is really blurred to cream and nothing is really sharp and crisp. This has to be taken into account if you're intending to deliver nice 'bokehed' pictures. i would prefer to go 35mm or wider for clear backgrounds and 85 or longer for a nicer blur.
    Just reading this paragraph, I get the impression you are talking about depth of field. Because of you are implying that an 85 mm will give better bokeh than 35 mm, that can't be right.

  17. #17

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    maybe can try posting the pix????

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  19. #19
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    Shallow DOF = blurred background.
    Bokeh = quality of the blurred background.
    Lenses with less blades in the diaphragm produces blured shapes other than circular. Eg, EF 50mm F1.8 has 5 blades thus a blurred light source will appear like a pentagon => Bokeh not very good assuming that the majority of the population thinks that circular is the best. EF50mm F1.4 has 7 blades, blurred ligth source take on an almost circular appearance => good bokeh.
    OK, that's afaik....

    Back to the original topic... environmental portraits should have relatively clear backgrounds. Maybe your client wanted environmental portraits?

    Pays to check with your client... not everyone likes this effect from experience. Esp so for the general public... they won'd understand DOF or bokeh... but will think that "wah liao, this guy with such a bad ass camera takes blur pictures!"

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    hmm, is the distinction between bokeh and background blur so hard to understand?

    zplus is right, good or bad bokeh is due to lens construction more than anything, and the number of aperture blades is an important but not the only factor.

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