Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Days of Better Christmas Photography - Day 7 - Shaped Bokeh


What is bokeh anyway? I know you're asking this question. It's pronouced "bow-kuh" for starters and it's those little round (usually) dots of out of focus light that speckle the background of kick butt shots. You might see it in the background of dappled light under a tree in the summertime, but in the winter you will probably see it in the background as your subject sits in front of the Christmas tree.

So here's how to get bokeh.

  1. Set your dslr to either aperture priority or manual
  2. If you are using a zoom lens, zoom in as close as you can go.
  3. Set your aperture to as wide open as it will go. My favorite lens is a 35mm F2. If I use a lens that's f4, etc, I do get bokeh but it's not the large spots, they are much smaller, but it does work
  4. You should be much closer to your subject, but there needs to be space between your subject and the background. The farther you can get away from your lit background, the better. We're not talking a half mile ok?
  5. Dappled light, such as Christmas tree lights, far-away street, city and car lights, dappled light through trees, sun reflecting from water or sand just right, busy give you the bokeh dots.

For point & shoot: if you aren't able to set your aperture manually, try the portrait and macro modes on your camera. You can use the macro mode even if you're not shooting macro. These auto modes give you wide apertures.

OK, But how do you get those hearts??

{61/365} HBM::heart bokeh edition

{great photo by someone that's not me}

Well, I didn't think there was much point in rewriting a great tutorial, so I'm sending you the link to try it yourself. I honestly haven't tried it yet, I always forget until I'm shooting and think "I wish I had one of those heart bokeh things"

If you don't want to take the time to make it yourself photojojo has a kit that does it all for you! With tons of shapes! (no I don't get paid for that product placement but dammit I should!)

Consider this a warning tho... Bokeh is addictive.
Proceed with caution


LisaDay said...

Your kitty makes a great bokeh subject.


gowestferalwoman said...

does bokeh actually mean "photo bling' in a different language lol?

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