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Inspirational Examples of the Bokeh Effect

What is Bokeh?

“In photography, bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.” Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting— “good” or “bad” bokeh, respectively.

Bokeh characteristics may be quantified by examining the image’s circle of confusion. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light becomes an image of the aperture, generally a more or less round disc. Depending how a lens is corrected for spherical aberration, the disc may be uniformly illuminated, brighter near the edge, or brighter near the center. Lenses that are poorly corrected for spherical aberration will show one kind of disc for out-of-focus points in front of the plane of focus, and a different kind for points behind.”

- Source: Wikipedia.com

Bokeh in Photography

Bokeh originates in the field of Photography, here are some great examples of what can be achieved through use of this effect:

BOKEH – This multi-colored example creates a striking collage.

Bokeh – This example appears to be taken at night, and the vibrant orange bokeh effect is really striking.

Thirsty for Bokeh – This example sees the typical Bokeh circles become heptagons, which form a soft background in this beautiful photo.

Bokeh – This warm, retro image consists of gradients of yellow and red ranging across the canvas.

Bokeh – This bokeh photo uses a retro texture effect to enhance it’s composition.

Daily Bokeh – This photo is simply beautiful! The bokeh effect creates a stunning background for a macro photo, and the combination of bokeh and close focus works perfectly.

Bokeh – This is another example of macro focus combined with bokeh techniques, the combination works really well, as the water drop is visually similar to the bokeh circles in the background.

Bokeh as Digital Art

The Bokeh effect isn’t limited to photography, the same effect can be generated in Photoshop. Due to the possibilities of Photoshop this can lead to some really experimental designs and some very cool light effects.

Bokeh – This is a classic vector example of the bokeh effect – bright, colorful and clean.

Bucketful of Bokeh – This design has taken the Bokeh effect and creatively fitted it into the composition of a photo of a bucket.

Battersea Bokeh – This Photoshop bokeh effect adds a certain grungy, dirtiness to this urban photography.


Oh Rainy Day – This example takes the bokeh effect and replaces the traditional circles with hearts.

Bokeh – This is a brighter example of the bokeh Photoshop effect, with very defined edges.

Wings From the Past – The bokeh effect in this piece provides a great background for the flock of birds. Their ‘busy’ effect compliments the multiple birds.

Graw… – This work contorts the conventional circular shape of the bokeh effect, pushing the circles into bright ovals near the base of the composition.

Bokeh Effect – This design takes the bokeh effect and makes it very soft and feminine.

Bokeh in Webdesign

Bokeh is used in website design quite often, as it provides a stylish background or header pattern for many sites. Here are some great examples of how the effect can be used in diverse ways.

Frish – Frish uses the bokeh technique to create a soft, pastel background effect.

David Quartino – David Quartino uses a bright bokeh effect as the main driving visual for his website, creating a vibrant background pattern.

Redigital – Redigital subverts from the typical bright bokeh effect, creating a much darker, moodier background lighting effect.

Mananeras – Mananeras uses a subtle pink bokeh effect to provide a background to their website.

Unuidesign – Unuidesign combines a bokeh effect with a stunning colorscheme, to create a great lighting effect in their header.

Play in Traffik – Traffik creates a fiery background effect through use of the bokeh effect.

Three 23 – Three23 uses a bold bokeh background effect to create an instant theme of photography.

Div Players – Div Players uses a bokeh effect to compliment their vibrant color scheme.

Learn Bokeh

If you’re interested in producing your own bokeh effect then you can check out the following great tutorials:

Awesome Digital Bokeh Effect in Photoshop

DIY Create Your Own Bokeh

Awesome Bokeh Effect Tutorial

How to Create a Fake Bokeh Effect

Bokeh Effect Tutorial


About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

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11 Comments:

  1. good post and nice effects

  2. Michael says:

    Wow, using this effect does a great job at improving the pictures and texture. Thanks for sharing this. I really like the one with the geese, it makes it appear that the sunlight is “popping” out.

  3. Very inspirational post and makes me want to create my own bokeh. I really like this effect as it makes images and websites stand out from the rest. Great selection of images using this effect. Thanks!

  4. Amit says:

    Bokeh photography is all about the aperture ,lens, exposure n shallow depth of field.. the wider you can set your aperture, the more intense bokeh effect you can achieve. If you don’t have a lens capable of some of the wider aperture settings, like f/1.8, don’t despair. the Graw… image is vry interesting its giv a silhouette effect of the tree n the bokeh..amaizng photography..

  5. Hi Tom, great article, I love the effect I just never knew what it was called! Nice one added website examples too.

  6. Thanks for featuring my website on your gallery! :D

  7. MUU DG says:

    Thanks for adding Mañaneras to the gallery. We are the designers of the site, it’s really nice to find it as an inspirational example. Cheers from Argentina :)

  8. David Cox says:

    Thank you for featuring my tutorial… I’ve moved hosts and my url with it, so you should update the link to http://aevion.net/tutorials/bokeh-effect-tutorial/

  9. It’s really beautiful design. Great!

  10. After reading this article some month ago I decided to get a 50mm lens and try it out. It’s real fun! Here is my first one:
    http://martinsoler.com/2010/06/03/bokeh-love-hearts-candles/

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