I have seen photos like this https://flic.kr/p/PwNpFq where the foreground is in focus but the background has double elements. Is this just what the lens does or is there a technique which achieves this? Any ideas?

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    Are you looking for specifically the "doubled" effect in your example, or do you just want the foreground sharp and background smooth and blurred?
    – mattdm
    May 30 '17 at 16:03
  • @mattdm This question is looking for a different answer. The one you linked to is asking about the bokeh in general, but this question is focusing on a certain effect of the bokeh, specifically the effect of vertical lines through the photo. Jul 19 '18 at 19:51
  • @HairyDresden Yes, I think you are right. Note that I edited the title along those lines, but Sophia has never returned to confirm.
    – mattdm
    Jul 19 '18 at 19:53
  • @mattdm Good point. I didn't realize this was such an old post. Jul 19 '18 at 19:55

The particular image is heavily photoshopped, probably using a smudge brush or something similar. Other images may simply have a narrow depth of field which makes the background out of focus while the foreground is in focus, but the painted look comes from post production work.

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    i think I had a scratched lens that could do that May 30 '17 at 21:08
  • It could also possibly be something like cellophane wrapped over the lens with a hole cut in it. That might be able to produce a similar look. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that it might be able to get that kind of look.
    – AJ Henderson
    May 31 '17 at 3:29

It's common to see the background bokeh get different patterns in it when there is some kind of mesh or very skinny fence/cage bars near the lens. The out-of-focus foreground won't pick up the same patterning.


A lot of people think that this shot is achieved through Photoshop, but that is not true.

You can replicate this effect by shooting through grass at the object. You will need to have your aperture wide open, say f/2.0, and have grass physically between the lens and the subject. The grass will effect the bokeh in such a way that it gets the vertical lines. Illustration:

Lens   Grass    Flower   Grass
 |]    |||||      *      |||||
       |||||      |      |||||

     Foreground        Background

To support my answer, if you look at the flower, you can see that there is distortion created by a heavily out of focus object between it and the lens. That is part of the grass in the foreground


I got similar effects by placing an opaque object just in front of the lens. You can use a piece of tape. Place the strip of tape right across the middle of the lens as close to the lens as possible. Since I discovered this by putting my extended finger across the lens, I use a strip of tape approximately the same width, more or less. Different widths will produce different effects. The angle I used was vertical which put two out of focus (bokeh?) images right-and-left of each other. Horizontal would split the OOF images into upper-and-lower, etc.

The objects in focus are almost unaffected while foreground and background images will show the effect to a greater degree.

Experiment with image-blocking opacity, width, and angle for more departures.


The photo in question was shot on an APS-C camera (Canon 7D) with long (300mm / f4) lens.

Even though it is likely heavily edited the key contribution to the Bokeh (tm) was from the focal length used.

As the poppy seems to be rather close and the lens has minimal focusing distance of 1.5 meter it might have required an extension ring and/or some cropping.


In my opinion that could be due a long exposition, some motion blur, probably there was some air blowing in the background.

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