The term, pronounced BOH-KA is Japanese in origin and Boke means blur and boke-aji is blur quality. Prettier in Japanese I think 🙂
The type of lens and shape of the blades determine the shape and size of the bokeh whether it will be circular or more hexagonal.
What you need –
FAST LENS is preferable
What this means is a lens with a large aperture at least f/2.8 aperture, with faster apertures of f/2, f/1.8 or f/1.4 being ideal.
Shoot with the lens wide open, I prefer Aperture priority as all you do is choose the aperture size while the camera chooses the shutter speed for the exposure.
If you have to shoot at say f/8, increasing the distance between the background and your subject can help.
How to get bokeh!
The further your subject is from it’s background the more likely you will get bokeh.
You can do this by deceasing the distance between your camera and the subject.
Get in REAL close to your subject
(I think I was lying in the dirt at this stage in my pajamas!)
Make sure there is nothing in the background for at least 5 feet!
It’s about making you subject stand out from the background
Start with a flower, which I find to be the easiest to get bokeh with
Try to get underneath the flower and ensure that you have a far away subject such as trees in this example that the light can come through
You can get creative with bokeh, as with the photo below when you make the bokeh the subject!