When Will The Bokeh Craze End

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by smoke665, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I've noticed a tendency among many in the pursuit of the ultimate creamy background, that it's becoming almost comical in effect. So I have to ask, are there others that feel like photographers are chasing after it too much for their own good? I’m not saying that bokeh is bad. When used in the right situations it can be gorgeous, and can enhance an image, but it still doesn’t mean that every single image has to be shot wide open, nor go overboard in creating excessive fake blur in PS.

    Does the average person who looks at your images, and clients who book you, really care about these things. Do they care that you had to sell a body part to buy your new lens, are they impressed with how big your lens is, or what its maximum aperture is, and they certainly won’t sit there ooohhing and aawwweeing, over the background when they’re looking at their family portraits. All they really care about is the subject, the quality of the bokeh is not important to them, unless it's so distracting that it's annoying (a point many are getting to).

    In some case I have to wonder if it's an easy cop out (just blur the crap out of everything rather than think about your background and composition). To me its overuse is stifling creativity rather than enhancing.


     
  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    We've certainly seen many on here who seem to want "bokeh" over and above anything else, but it seems the quest for the blur is letting up some. It might have something to do with what essentially becomes a spoiled attempt, and any objective look at the poor results will convince observers that the photograph is not optimum.

    After a photographer learns the reason for background (and foreground) blur, and realizes that there are degrees of blur as well as quality of the blur, the photographs seem to get better.

    No, most people do not realize that the blur is something the photographer was trying to do, but the separation of subject from the background is always something that makes the product look better (and more professional).
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think your question is impossible to answer. The latest generation of sophisticated cell phones has introduced remarkably good fake bokeh effects, and it might serve to prolong the trend. It's really impossible to say.
     
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  4. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Bokeh has been around since the dawn of photography so I don't think its going anywhere. However, if I may expand on your initial question, what might be at issue lately is the misuse of very shallow dept of field. People believe nirvana is achieved when every photo is taken at f1.2 or f1.4 regardless of whether the subject is in focus or not, "this" for me is the issue. How many portraits have you seen when only one eye is sharp or the tip of the nose is blurred and the eyes are sharp, we are talking a few millimetres of DoF when in reality the subject deserves half a dozen centimetres or more.

    As far as foreground and background isolation using a shallow DoF, it should be employed to compliment the subject rather than make it a technical feature due to the speed of the lens.
     
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  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    trend has been around since day one and wont go away.
     
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  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Yes I realize it's been around forever, but of late it just seems to be more overdone. Like adding salt to your meal there's a point where to much ruins the meal. The effect should be complimentary but not the first thing you notice.

    On @Derrel 's comment, IMO, the advent of cell phones and all their secondary apps, has resulted in a generation of mindless gimicky snaps witb little thought to what comprises a good composition. Sadly some of that may be carrying over into photography.

    Yup one of my pet peeves. In so many cases, the reality is, that with proper consideration the background can be a complimentary part of the composition.
     
  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not soon enough...

    "...with proper consideration the background can be a complimentary part of the composition." It should be. Whatever's in the frame will be in the picture and needs to be considered. (And whatever is cut off and not in the frame can't be put back later.)

    I don't remember ever hearing about it til recent years online. Just another misconception of sorts on the internet... Not that there isn't something to it, but even if people shoot wide open and blur the background, it's still there. If there's something back there that's bright, red, etc. it's going to show in the scene as a bright or red blob and make for a visual distraction.
     
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  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Not every image needs to have a completely smooth background. I like to use appropriate DoF so that my subject(s) are separated from the background, but often recognizable as they can add to the image. That said, an aperture of 1.2 or 1.4 can be a way of turning a sow's ear into a silk purse if you're forced to shoot against a less than desirable background. Cole's Notes? It depends!
     
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  9. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Now they take it into PS apply a radial blur, and make it a mottled mess. When it would have been so much easier to compose from the start.

    Depends brings to mind another message. LOL No argument that you need an assortment of tools in the bag to get the shot, but it's highly unlikely you'll uses the same tool on every single shot.
     
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  10. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Or just clone out the distracting bright blob in the background, but that isn't really the issue with bokeh.

    The authentic reference to bokeh according to the interweb "is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out of focus parts of an image produced by a lens." My understanding of it for the past 40+ years echoes this and some lenses produce bad bokeh, bad in the terms of jittery or harsh out of focus areas. The goal today for many fast lens makers is to produce smooth buttery out of focus areas but not all fast lenses produce pleasant bokeh, it is a characteristic of each lens design. Personally, I like smooth transitions and pick my hardware according to the creative goals of the shot.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    "Fake blur" has become much better in recent years. The new Google Pixel phone has amazingly good artificial blurry backgrounds, and in the new iPhone 11 it looks pretty good, not perfect,but pretty good. Just a few months ago Apple advertised their phones with the word bokeh, using it as a verb,in this sentence "I would never bokeh your kid."
     
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  12. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah the marketing department should have understood what it meant before looking like dolts. LOL
     
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