Angella Dykstra: She Makes Cents


Holiday Photo Lab: How to Make Custom Bokeh Shapes

Bokeh Is Not A Bad Word

photography, bokeh

I’m sure that many of you know what bokeh is, but if not, I can tell you what “bokeh” means. Bokeh is the really blurry, kind of funky, background in a photo that may or may not include lights or shapes or random swirls. (If you want the official definition, may I offer up wikipedia?)

Step By Step Guide To Take Professional Quality Photos Of Your Christmas Tree

Christmas—or whatever light-filled holiday you celebrate—provides ample opportunities to play with bokeh. Case in point: our Little Snow Person in front of the tree (Mommy and Daddy Snow People were sipping a hot toddy in the corner)(Allegedly).

He's coming a little closer. Not to be creepy, but to show you how much more fun the lights are in the background.

Many years ago, when I first learned the manual settings on my camera and started to share what I was learning, a friend emailed me the link to this tutorial on creating “customized” bokeh. I rifled through my craft room and found a star-shaped hole punch.

How fun is that?

Then I went to my craft room, pulled out the black card stock and used an Exacto knife to cut a out a “heart” (I may be creative, but drawing is NOT my specialty)(I can't even draw stick people properly). This is the result.

Long story (tutorial) short:

You need a “fast” lens — I used my 50mm f/1.8

You need to have your subject a good distance from the background — Baby Snow Dude was about nine feet in front of the tree.

You will have to bump up your ISO settings (I used ISO 800) — I know we haven’t covered ISO, but we will if you want me to.

A lot of it is trial and error, time, and perseverance. Play and play and then YAY! The Shot.

Do you have any questions about Bokeh? Or pretty photos of your own that you want to share? PLEASE share pretty photos. I can’t get enough of them, especially at Christmas with all of the lights.