What is bokeh?

Bokeh is a Japanese word meaning the softness and quality of the out-of-focus area of a photo. For example, a portrait might be sharply in focus but the environment behind the subject might be rendered out of focus giving subject separation and presenting a pleasing three-dimensional effect.

There are three factors controlling bokeh – the main factor is the size of a lenses’ aperture and how open it is – for example an aperture opened to f1.4 will result in a narrower depth of field – (area of acceptable sharpness) while any background elements will be rendered out of focus. The second factor relates to subject to camera distance – the closer the lens is focussed to the subject relative to any background elements, the more the out of focus effect. Lastly, the focal length of the lens. Longer telephoto lenses will produce a narrower depth of field while wide angle lenses tend to produce a deeper depth of field (acceptable sharpness) in a scene.

Some smart-phones (such as newer models of the iPhone) are now implementing an artificially created ‘bokeh’ effect which is created using artificial intelligence (computational photography) within the phone ‘on the fly’ and can sometimes even retrospectively apply this effect. While this can be convincing the software can occasionally get areas which are supposed to be in sharp focus blurry and other areas sharp (when they should be out of focus) or they can add odd artefacts and dark edges to a subject. There is greater fine control in creating an artificial bokeh effect by using masks in post production software such as Adobe Photoshop.

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Competition - Conditions of entry

This contest is only open to fully paid-up members of Bollington Photographic group.

Images should be submitted with the theme/title as specified on our contest page and elsewhere on social media – all photographs to be taken in the local vicinity unless otherwise agreed with the organisers in advance. Images not complying with these conditions will be disqualified from the contest.

Submissions must be your own work and by entering the contest, you are agreeing that they may be subsequently used for promotional purposes by the group. Credits to the individual photographer will be given, and copyright of the image(s) remain(s) with the photographer.

Winning entries will be professionally printed for display in the exhibition and the winners agree to contribute to the production costs at £5 per image chosen by the voting process. 

Voting is only open to paid-up members of Bollington Photographic group and members of the Bollington Photographic Facebook Group. 

Voting will only be allowed following the closure of the submission period. No cheating, mind. You can only vote once for your TWELVE  favourites, – so make your votes count!

Please note: You WILL be disqualified if you vote for your own Photographs!

  • Image format should be JPG, either colour or mono and of a quality to allow printing up to A3 in size.
  • All submissions will be validated following the closure of the submission period and voting will then  commence. 
  • The voting period will be as specified on the contest pages. Votes outside these dates will be disqualified.
  • The twelve images with the most votes will be declared the winners and will be selected and printed for exhibition.
  • Winning entries will be announced within the website and on social media following the closure of the voting period and the winning photographers will be also be notified by e-mail.
  • The winners’ images will be posted on the groups’ Facebook Page and will be printed and displayed in the Turners’ Arms as part of the Bollington Photographic Group  exhibition. At the end of the exhibition period, the prints will be archived for future exhibition or returned to the photographer upon request.    The decision of the organisers will be final. E&OE