Learn Basic Photo Editing

How To Add Bokeh Effects For Magical Photography

By Whitney | Basic Photo Editing Photo Editor Tutorials

When it comes to photography, light is everything. Whether we’re talking about natural or artificial, without light a photograph simply can’t happen. One of the coolest phenomenons that light can produce in photos is the bokeh effect, or when light renders the out of focus parts of your photo to produce something almost dreamlike. Light shining on drops of dew or through tree leaves transforms into beautiful orbs when it’s out of focus, which is entirely the point of bokeh. Pure magic.

how to capture bokeh photography

Bokeh photography is naturally captured using a DSLR camera under certain settings and conditions. We’ll show you how to capture it naturally, plus how simple it is to get the look by adding Bokeh effects with BeFunky’s Photo Editor. Your photos are about to get so dreamy!

How To Capture Bokeh With A Camera

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke”, which means blur or haze. It’s an aesthetic that’s achieved in the out of focus parts of your photograph, and typically is captured using a fast lens at wide apertures (around f/2.8 or wider). Think of those beautiful portraits you’ve seen where the subject is really sharp and in focus, while the background is composed of blurry circles of color. That’s the aesthetic of bokeh - nice, usually round, areas of color where the light meets the blur.

how to add bokeh effect to photo with BeFunky

One of the easiest ways you can achieve natural bokeh in photography is to create distance between the background and your subject in the foreground. By focusing solely on your subject in the foreground and making it crisp and clear, your background will easily blur into lovely bokeh. The more color and light in the background, the more visible the bokeh effect.

When To Use Bokeh Effects

Since we here at BeFunky know how magical bokeh can be, we’ve created a way for you to add it to your photography in the editing process. Even if you don’t own a DSLR or fancy mobile camera, BeFunky’s Photo Editor features realistic-looking Bokeh effects for enhancing your photos, so you’ll look like a professional photographer even if you lack the equipment. Don’t worry, your secret will be safe with us.

But before you go all bokeh-crazy on your photos, here are a few instances where the effect really shines:

Macro Photography. When you’re shooting really close up, the background of your photo tends to naturally blur. When you add bokeh outside of the depth of field, magic happens.

how to add bokeh to background with BeFunky
how to edit macro photography with befunky



Portrait Photography. When you want to create an intriguing background, bokeh is the way to go. You can use these effects selectively so that your subject is always the focal point of the shot.

how to add bokeh to photos in BeFunky
how to edit portrait photography with BeFunky



Blurred Photography. Whether you’re working with a photo that’s naturally blurred or you decide to blur images in post-process, adding bokeh effects can create an extra artistic element. Think of the lights on a Christmas tree or a scene of a city at night - the light sources become orbs of color when they’re out of focus, and that can be a really good thing for the mood of your photo.

free bokeh effects for photo editing
how to blur images with BeFunky



How To Add Bokeh Effects To Your Photos

Once you’re ready to start bokeh-fying your photos, head to BeFunky’s Photo Editor and upload an image. Click on the Textures tab in the left menu and then select the Bokeh category. There, you’ll find several Bokeh effects that you can preview on your photo by clicking on them.

how to add bokeh background in BeFunky

Pro Tip: Remember how we talked about bokeh naturally occurring in the blurred part of your photos? If you want to blur backgrounds first, you can start in the Edit menu and use the Blur tool to make certain areas out of focus before adding bokeh.

When you find the style of bokeh you want, you can click on the Settings Menu (the mixing board icon) and start customizing it. In the Settings menu, you can adjust the Blend Mode and Opacity, and also use the arrow buttons to rotate the effect on your photo.

how to add bokeh overlay in photo editing

If you want to use the bokeh effect selectively (like add it to the background while keeping the foreground crisp and clear), click on the Paint tab in the Settings menu. In Paint mode, you can click and drag to erase the effect from certain areas of your photo.

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Clicking the Reverse button in the Paint tab (two overlapping squares) will allow you to paint the Bokeh effect onto areas of your photo instead of erasing it. When you’ve got the effect looking just right, click the blue checkmark to confirm.

how to edit photos with bokeh effect in BeFunky

Voila, now you’ve got a professional-looking bokeh background in minutes!

how to add bokeh to photos in BeFunky

The best part about BeFunky’s Bokeh effects is that there are no set rules to how you use them. Feel free to layer as many Bokeh effects as you want, or use them on the entire photo instead of limiting yourself to the background only. Whether you create something realistic or more on the artistic side, these Bokeh effects will destine your photos for greatness. Follow the link below to start your next masterpiece! 

Photo Editing, Simplified.

Photo Editing. Simplified