Is bokeh dead?

In Film, Inspiration
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I was recently reading a question in a photography forum about bokeh being an effect that is overused. Another photographer rightly answered that bokeh wasn’t an effect you applied, but a result of your aperture settings and the lens you are using.

However, after reading this interesting discussion, I still felt there was a bit of (negative) controversy regarding the matter. Some people argue that you CHOOSE the wide aperture to get the bokeh effect and, thus, some people use it too much, all the time. Others argue it is dated and not trending in photography at the moment. Finally, some others make the point that it is all a matter of taste: some photographers like it, some don’t.

Is bokeh dead? Do you use it and/or abuse it? When do you use it most? What are your thoughts?

I leave you with some of my images so you can decide whether I am a fan of bokeh or not!




  1. Oh I am definitely a bokeh fan and proud abuser. And not a fan of anything “trending.” Tack sharp perfectly focused overall images often leave me cold. I love the mystery that bokeh gives a photo. Maybe it’s because I am nearsighted and without my glasses it is how I see the world. Your images are magical! 3 cheers for bokeh.

    • I love that you say you’re a proud abuser – so am I! xo

  2. I am a huge fan of bokeh. Anytime I can catch the magic of light, in my rainy corner of the world, I go for it. Beautiful photos, Matie.

    • Bokeh and gorgeous light together, yes!! Thanks, Cathy!

  3. Love me some bokeh! Like anything else, it has its place. LOVE these image, Maite. The butterfly! Incredible!

    • It does have it’s place, I agree! Thanks Chinwe, xo.

  4. Aaaah. I think iPhones have put me off bokeh a tad. Which is why I love to shoot film bokeh.

    Do you remember Bokeh People?!?

  5. I love bokeh, it just adds a softness and a little magic to a photograph. Yours are lovely!

  6. I love bokeh (and bokeh people!), but I think that it can be helpful to ask oneself why one is using it, what effect it has on the final photo, what the purpose of the photo is, does it add to a story, or does it confuse the viewer. It can set a subject apart from the background, it can hide a distracting background, it can create copy space for words and graphic design, it can create mood, it can be a tool for shooting in low light, and it can be beautiful in its own right. However, depending on the context, it can seem meaningless, it can seem like a beginner’s exercise, or it can seem lazy.

    (your hand with the branch is soooo pretty)

  7. To be able to pull off a stellar bokeh like you are showing here (as well as others I know); it seems like it speaks more towards your ability as a photographer. Some people can pick it up and do great immediately, but most people can’t and when they have tried have failed miserably.
    A lot of the times those that failed the first couple of times out never went back to try it and figure out how to shoot it properly.

    And if that is someone’s style… go for it. Not sure if what the trend is would really be that much of an issue.

  8. Omg, I love bokeh and your photos are absolutely amazing. I just got into film photography. What kind of film did you use ? Thanks

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