Friday, May 15, 2009

Fashion Portraits and more….

These past few weeks have been killer. We have been doing a lot more business and trying some new things out. Over the winter a computer problem led to a workspace issue in photoshop. Photoshop essentially crashed and deleted our workspaces, thus deleting nearly 200 actions. Happily those actions have been restored and then some. Below are a some photographs that I made this past week. I tested out a new location with a model that I frequently use. I love working with the same models from time to time. They know your style of shooting and you know their style of posing. This makes for a great relationship when it comes to working together. There is also the added comfort level that you might not get right away with some models that are new to you or new to posing. I should also add, I love to break rules. I love to create an image that stands out in one way or another and try not to conform to any set rules. I mean, the rule of thirds does apply, but that is different. These portraits represent 2 years worth of shooting and developing a photographer/model/friendship-relationship. One of the most successful aspects of these portraits is how there is a strong contrast of the model vs. the background. When I first found this location, I knew it was going to make a great backdrop for a shoot. I plan on visiting it again to further see what I can create using it.

Fashion Toned (116) Fashion Toned (151) Fashion Toned (14) Fashion Toned (22) Fashion Toned (35) Fashion Toned (41) Fashion Toned (50) Fashion Toned (94) Fashion Toned (98) Fashion Toned (99) Fashion Toned (109) Fashion Toned (111) Fashion Toned (115) Fashion Toned (124) Fashion Toned (142) Fashion Toned (143) Fashion Toned (209) Fashion Toned (224) Sepia Toned (4) Sepia Toned (13) Sepia Toned (19) Sepia Toned (23) Sepia Toned (28) Sepia Toned (30) Sepia Toned (33) Sepia Toned (36)Sepia Toned (45)  Sepia Toned (49) Sepia Toned (52) Sepia Toned (55) Sepia Toned (61) Sepia Toned (63) Sepia Toned (69) Sepia Toned (71) Sepia Toned (85) Sepia Toned (86) Sepia Toned (88)  Fashion Toned (96)


Bokeh: No I don’t Bokeh!

Bokeh is a very generic term used to describe shallow depth of field. If you are unfamiliar with what shallow depth of field is, let me define it for you.  Shallow depth of field is the blurred, out of focus background that you get when you shoot a subject close up or have the aperture on your camera opened to the widest stop. Creating a shallow depth of field enhances the photographs overall look and feel. It can enhance the mood and emotion. It also allows your eyes to focus more clearly on the subject that is in the photograph.

The term bokeh was first brought to my attention nearly a year ago. A friend of mine, an amateur photographer, used it in a sentence while discussing something related to photography. I said “whoa, whoa, whoa, back up, what did you just say?” He tried his best to define the term. At the time I thought nothing of it, got a laugh out of it and went on with the conversation. This week I picked up the March issue of Shutter Bug, and to my amazed disappointment, the word Bokeh was used twice within it’s pages. Like I mentioned above, I think it is a very generic term that has absolutely no bearings in the photography industry.

Bokeh is actually a Japanese term, (which I am unsure of the true meaning), meaning “fuzzy” and or “fool”. The two mentions in Shutter Bug have two different descriptions for the word. The first description of the word can be found in the “Picture This” section. A monthly assignment to give photographers a chance to enter their image to the magazine. The second appears in a little product mention a few pages further into the magazine. There is a “digital Bokeh” photoshop plugin that is made by Alien Skin Software ( They claim the plugin, “simulates depth-of-field effects of different camera lenses at various aperture settings”.  There are a number of ways in photoshop to create a depth-of-field look and feel in your photograph that does not require a plugin. I am by no means a fan of the word Bokeh. It is a term that I will never use when describing my photographs or to describe the depth-of-field in my photographs. To me, the word Bokeh seems to be a word that is being forced into the photographers vocabulary.  I would be interested to see what other people/photographers think about this term. I have yet to hear a professional photographer use the term. So, please feel free to leave a comment with your ideas. Thank you!


David Weaver said...

I am a professional photographer.
I have heard the term 'bokeh'. It has been used for years by many pros and amateurs and the term seems to be favored by many that post on
Bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus areas in a photograph. Different lenses at various apertures do create different looking OOF areas - some are more pleasing than others. Some people focus too much on bokeh, but then some spend too much time on little things in photography instead of the big picture (they are creating). Bokeh is a term that is used and should be know to photographers.

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

David thank you for your comment. I think to, that the logistics of some photographers makes a difference on the use of the word. Some words are used more in other parts of the country than others. However, the term still seems to be young to me. I do not belong to any forums for photography, but I do understand what you mean by "favored by the many that post on". I would like to know more about the history of the term. I did a search of photography definitions a while back and did not find the word "Bokeh" on any of them. I guess my opinions of the word are a tad one-sided. But, its just been my experience that the term is seldom used and known by the professionals I know and have worked with. I agree though, the word should be known.