O'Reilly logo

The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Lesson 16. Use Focus to Abstract

We most often notice bokeh, a word I feel self-conscious writing, much less speaking aloud, as the shape of out-of-focus highlights in the background of an image. It can be beautiful, but we often relegate it to a happy byproduct of the photograph we’re making of something else, some other element in the foreground, instead of the very point of the image. Using the aesthetic possibilities of out-of-focus elements, we’re able to reduce sharp line and form to something less specific, something more abstract. There are other ways to do it, but using a lack of focus can be as powerful a way to abstract as any other.

Canon 5D Mk II, 90–200mm, 1/60 @ f/2.8, ISO 100Shot wide open (f/2.8) and out of focus, the elements ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required