Having the right amount of Bokeh in a photo can be a stunning effect. When it comes to long nosed dogs this can be a challenge. I am guilty of ratcheting down the f stop just to get a small depth of field and large amount of Bokeh.
Bokeh (pronounced Boca) is the very desirable effect when everything forward or behind the area of focus (depth of field) gets blurry. It is a great way to make a cluttered background disappear and allow the subject of the shot to be the subject of the shot. In achieving a nice bokeh effect the closer you are to your in focus area the more out of focus the bokeh areas will be. Step away from your subject a bit and the bokeh will lessen.
For a long nosed dog the distance between the camera and the subject is crucial. Remembering the basic number one rule of pet adoption photography …. it all about the eyes. If you get your focus wrong and get the tip of the nose perfectly in focus then the eyes won’t have the gravitational pull that they should to pull in that special potential adopter.
Check out these two of Eddie a current adoptable love bug at the RVSPCA. His eyes are in focus and his long nose and body are slightly out. Notice that in the close up/face shot the nose is definitely seeing the bokeh action while in the full body shot his nose is a bit more in focus the depth of field is a bit greater. His body is still identifiable but just not in full focus. This all puts the emphasis on his face and most importantly his eyes. Also of note is the background clutter in the face shot all but disappears. I bet you didn’t even notice it until I just mentioned it.
Keeping the eyes the most important part of the photo allows the adopters to begin the connection process and helps to ensure more successful adoptions.