Pet Photography using beautiful bokeh - the blur behind your subject

July 07, 2017  •  4 Comments

Pet Project 52 - while this is a 52 week project, I joined late - so perhaps I will cycle back around to the beginning of the topics after 2017 ends.  Can you believe that 2017 is half over?  For this particular facebook group of pet photographers, each week we are given a photo theme.  The photo themes can be applied to many different types of photography (at least those I have done thus far), but we are focusing on how to incorporate it into pet photographs.  Since there are many of us around the world participating, at the end of my blog post there will be a link to another photographer's blog and if you click on the links in each one, you'll eventually complete the circle and come back here to my blog.

So what is this week about?  Bokeh - have you heard this word before?  Photographers use it a lot, and hopefully they know and understand what they are talking about.  Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", or boke-aji, the "blur quality." Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.  Essentially, bokeh is the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that is created when shooting at a wide aperture (possibly the widest) for a given lens - typically this if an aperture of f/2.8 or wider.  However, having said this, it doesn't have to be that wide, and having a telephoto lens can help with the bokeh as well.  If you're really curious about bokeh, there are lots of places on the internet that you can find information, just google it.

Here's my first image with Jimbo taken while the sun was coming up.  Actually both Jim and I were photographing the sun as it was rising, but it's always good to turn around and see what the sun is shining on.  In this case, it was a very pretty golden glow on Jimbo!  The 'bokeh' is how all the things in the background blur - it's different for every lens but having a soft, non-distracting background always makes your subject stand out.

Jimbo came to us over four years ago, and he is a wonderful dog.  We can't thank him enough for joining our family!  The next group of photographs were taken in late afternoon, but due to the Florida thunderstorms it's hard to get the golden colors at the end of a given day.  Here's our happy boy hanging out at the neighborhood park - saying the word "snack" will get his attention and perk up his ears.  Of course, he gets that little reward after being such a good boy and staying put while I create beautiful portraits of him.  In this photograph, you can see how the grass gradually blurs as it moves into the distance behind Jimbo.  The maximum aperture for this lens is f/4, but I'm using a telephoto lens to help provide more blur in the background.

Moving in closer, as Jimbo looks off at something to my right - everything behind Jimbo is blurred - it's actually trees but with the bokeh, it's a pleasing non-distracting background.


This next image, I have two different versions - one is the original image, the other is cropped differently.  I think a bird flew by and he looked up when I snapped the shutter.

And here's the same image with just his face and the blurred green grass.  You can see a little light in both his eyes since he was looking up at a mostly white overcast sky.

Do you have a favorite photograph from this blog?  If so, take a few minutes to let us know!

For more  bokeh head over to visit Rochelle, Dark Sapphire Pet Photography in Nelson, New Zealand and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send us an email to Linda at [email protected] or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).



Yep, I love the third image as well! It's such a creamy bokeh!
Jodie Pholi(non-registered)
Gorgeous images, I love the 3rd image.
Sandra mccarthy(non-registered)
Beautiful soft backgrounds!
Jimbo is such a handsome boy! I especially like the bokeh on the 3rd image, so soft and green makes a perfect background!
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