The principles of Bokeh are the same, whatever the subject matter. It’s all about style that evokes mood and strong impact of feelings. TV commercials do it with such finesse that we sometimes like them more than the programs! Bokeh is one of the best tools in the lifestyle photographer’s arsenal of effects.
Aside from the needs of architectural and product photography, selective Bokeh is hugely interesting for still lifes. Check out Bokeh in Victoria magazine, the lifestyle publication that emphasizes romance of home, hearth and years gone by. Grunge, over-saturation and high pass filter are not the only things popular today. The more you can do with your image to evoke mood and emotion, the more you’ve communicated meaning – which is the only thing worth having in an image. When this niche technique is appropriately employed on the right image it’s stunning.
The fun Lens Baby concept was born of a commercial advertising style popular about 15-20 years ago that utilized extreme swing and tilt view camera functions to radically distort subjects with unexpected planes of focus. If you’re like me, doing about 50% commercial, PR and advertising/lifestyle imagery, you probably gave up your Sinar P system a while ago in favor of inexpensive, flexible small format digital, perhaps adding some tilt-shift lenses to your kit. Of course I’m still precise about keystoning and depth of field in a non-parallel plane, but mostly I do the minor corrections needed in post.
Several editorial images in the latest Patagonia clothing catalogue make use of Bokeh, both subtle and more extreme, effects on pictures of rock climbers. Proving there are all kinds of uses for this technique. Follow the same instructions as on my other Lens Baby Look Alike post.
An ornate, candle lit table still life glows with romance through blurry halation. Focus revealed was very limited and an oval marquee feathered to 75 was used with a Levels adjustment of 10 on the black slider to vignette. The result emphasizes the warm, dark hospitable feel of celebration.