To Bokeh or Not to Bokeh; NOkeh

I am beginning to like the idea of a NOkeh challenge. Many photographers (myself included) are obsessed with having a low depth of field in their images. I have recently gotten into Large Format photography shooting 8×10 wet plate photographs. They have an extremely low depth of field and amazing character that I think many modern digital photographers are trying to achieve today. Which is incredibly difficult given your sensor size is 1/10th of the size. That aside, I recently discovered a term called NOkeh or Nokeh. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light” Wiki. They’re the little highlight blobs you see in the top left of the image to the right. This has been generalized a bit now to just mean any objects that are out of focus.

Using this technique or style of shooting is really great when you have terrible backgrounds that you need to blur out and it also enhances the couple as the main focal point. After a while this becomes associated with your shooting style and also helps you define a “look” for yourself. Problem is, after a while you will catch yourself doing it all the time even when you do have awesome backgrounds. Enter Nokeh. No-Bokeh. Shooting around f/8 so that everything is pretty in focus, forcing you to work more on your composition and noticing light and color harmony.

Now on a wedding day you might not have time to slow down and think about these things but I think it’s important. Important for growth as a photographer, growth as an artist and important for your clients. I always try to give a wide array of photographs. Wides, close ups, candids, portraits, etc and Its hard to deliver on that when you are shooting everything at f/2. Which is just ridiculous for wide shots. : )

This also may be a good challenge in general to just slow down, take a step back, and look at your scene and other ways to capture it. Something you (and I) need to constantly remember to do. Get back to making incredible wedding photographs and less “getting the job done.”

*Thoughts on a Monday morning.

Aventura, September 22, 2014
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