Seizing Possibilities

Seizing Possibilities
Seizing Possibilities

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shaped Bokeh- Just in time for Christmas! #photography #bokeh

At Christmas when lights abound everywhere, bokeh seems so natural.  To add a more festive touch to your photographs you can actually shape them at will. 
To do this, you need a cereal box or other light-weight cardboard, and exacto knife and sharp scissors, an emery board or fine sandpaper or if you are fortunate a shaped hole-punch.
To begin, use your lens cap to make a circle to fit your lens, draw you four “legs” and cut it out with your scissors.


I drew the heart and star on paper and cut it out, (a sticker would work just as well) trace it with a pencil onto the center of the cardboard cover.  After tracing it, use an exacto knife to cut it out, sometimes a small sharp scissors is helpful (place the cardboard scraps under the area you are cutting with the exacto.)  Use your imagination.  Do multiples of different sizes on ONE cover.  Go wild!  

Laying the finished shape against white paper allows you to see where there may be a jagged or frayed edge or  even a nick you may want to sand out.   Take an emery board (fine sandpaper would do) and clean the edges that may be a bit ratted from cutting. If you are fortunate to have a shaped hole punch that would save some time and work, but it's worth the effort and didn't take that long.

I tried for the first time preparing for this tutorial the idea of making multiple shapes on one cover, it actually turned out okay for the quick change up of idea!  


Grab a hair-tie or rubberband and put it on the end of your lens. 

Single Star

Single Heart

Some things to remember:
1-      Use Manual Focus
2-      Keep it dark, less room light will produce better results
3-      Size of shape depends on focus-more focus=smaller shapes-less focus=larger shapes
4-      Depending on the direction you turn your lens to blur will determine if it is upside down or right side up
5-      Expose downward or darker than normal, this will create more color as well
6-      The distance between what you want in focus and the background lights will enable bokeh to be your background while keeping your subject in focus. 
7-      Use of a tripod is helpful to keep what you want in focus clear

 Think about other options for it's use.  Perhaps a frame?
How about the neighbor's decorations?  Or your lighted door wreath?

Now try some portraits. 
Quick set up and trial for portraits.  (I did not use a tripod here but, I’d recommend a tripod for certain and do it when you have cooperation from your subject.)  The children were at least 10 feet from the background tree.  And use some sort of front lighting for the face.  (I just had a room light on here, but I would set up and use something else for facial fill lighting to make your portraits.) go have some fun!

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  1. This is an excellent tutorial. I hope this is in the book you're writing!

    1. Certainly! Perhaps a bit more in-depth even. Showing more possibilities!

  2. Dazzling Pics.. I love the idea! This is one of the perfect christmas backdrops I have found..