This is the time of year to play with light bokeh and force it into cute shapes! In a nutshell, to create light bokeh you want a very wide aperture (small f-stop number, like 1.8). Then adjust focus so that the lights are out of focus. They will be blurry, pretty circles.
If you want the bokeh to take a certain shape, you need to use a filter on your lens. You don’t have to spend any money, though! I’ve made my own filters in the past, and you can do the same. Here’s how.
Bokeh Shapes DIY Supplies
• black posterboard or construction paper
• tape (black is a bonus, but regular works)
• cutting implement like x-acto knives, scissors, shape punchers
• optional: lens filter ring
• recommended: your sense of wonder
Carefully trace a circle around your lens on the black paper. Cut out your circle.
Next, you want to draw and then cut a small shape (about 1/2 inch, or 15-20mm) from the middle of your circle. If your shape is too big, you get poor results. Popular shapes include hearts, stars, and crosses. You can get creative here, and that is part of the fun. Be very careful with your shape – clean lines, no tears, clearly shaped and cut. This is easier to do with x-acto knives or shape punchers than with scissors.
Cut a strip of black paper to wrap around the lens, about 1 inch wide, like a cuff. Tape that shut on the lens, and tape your circle carefully to that, so it sits in front of your lens. This must be flush; no light leaks!
Another method is putting your paper circle inside a lens filter ring. This eliminates need for tape. Experiment to see what works best for you!
If you don’t want to make the shape filters yourself, you can cheat and order this cool set of shape filters http://goo.gl/JcNFs from Photojojo, like I did last year. They are awesome and there are blank disks included so you can make more of your own!
Whichever you choose – purchased or DIY, just put the filter on your lens, use the settings mentioned above, and voila!
PLAY WITH THE LOVELY BOKEH. SMILE. REPEAT!