Bokeh photography and I have had a mixed, tumultuous relationship. At first I was bitter, but now after accepting bokeh for what it is and learning really how to do it we've started a whole new chapter!
So what the heck is bokeh?
Bokeh means blur. Its a technique where you utilize depth of field and create an out of focus area in your photograph that is aesthetically pleasing. Remember depth of field? You can read about it here and here.
Alright, so how do you create bokeh photographs?
This is the part where I stumbled, for no apparent reason, because it really is simple. You do not need a fancy lens or filter (although they do make bokeh filters). All you need to do is a couple of really simple things:
How to Take a Bokeh Photograph in four Simple Steps.
1. Choose your subject.
2. Choose your background. This often means adjusting your angle or setting so there are pleasing objects/lighting behind or surrounding your subject.
3. Set your aperture really low, preferably as low as it goes.
4. Use your manual focus and focus in on your subject, it may help to leave it "softly" blurred rather than crisply in focus. The rest of the photograph should naturally blur significantly.
That blur my friends, is the bokeh.
You really can take some really fascinating photos using this technique.