Did you know that you can create different shaped bokeh in your photographs? Bokeh is that beautifully blurry background portion of your photos, typically achieved with a wide open aperture. Time to get a little creative with that bokeh – you can turn it into different shapes using a few commen household objects that you probably have sitting around your house! Here I am going to teach you how to make heart shaped bokeh (in time for Valentine’s Day!) but you can make any shape that you want for different holidays and occasions.
What You’ll Need:
– black construction paper
– pen or pencil
– camera and lens with wide aperture (1.2-2.8 would be great)
1. Gather your supplies. I included a tape measure in my supplies but it isn’t necessary. The first thing you need to do is trace the size of your lens onto the black construction paper. I found that a metallic ink pen or pencil worked best. Try and cut slightly bigger than what your traced, as it is generally better to have a little hanging over the edge than not have a disc that is big enough.
2. Cut a heart (or other shape) in the middle of your disc. The size of the heart matters a bit – too small and it will cover part of your photo, too big and you won’t get the heart shaped bokeh. Depending on the size of your lens, make sure that the heart shape just fits over the aperture opening. I had to try a couple different sizes before I found one that I liked.
3. Cut a strip of paper that is wide enough to wrap around your lens and tall enough to reach the end of the lens. Tape together around the lens.
4. Tape the disc to the paper tube around the lens. Make sure that no light get into the tube. (I went a little nuts with the tape!)
5. Open your aperture as wide as you can and set your ISO and shutter speed accordingly. If you don’t have a specific object that you want in focus, change the focus to manual and adjust it as needed to make the lights out of focus. If you want to focus on a subject (say, your adorable kids) make sure that they are a good distance from the lights in the background so that you get the beautiful bokeh. Check out more tips on this in our DIY Christmas Lights Background post.
6. Make sure that the heart facing in the right direction and click away! You should end up with images similar to this, with the lights forming cute little heart shapes.
Have fun with different shapes. You can try stars, triangles or you can get fancy and try christmas trees, snow flakes – anything you can think of!