Bokeh…with some pizazz

I am guessing that most of you know what bokeh is or as least have seen it but may not know it has a name. (until recently I had no idea it had a name) It’s those blurry, out of focus points of light that occur in the area outside the depth of focus. Sometimes it adds to the photo, but sometimes it definitely detracts, depending upon the intensity and subject matter. There are also different shapes that will occur, depending upon your camera. The shape that appears is determined by the aperture blades…I’ve seen them round as well as octagon.
So you are probably wondering why is she telling me this??? Well as promised in the title, I am going to show you how to make a gadget to control/change the shape of the Bokeh

Here is what you need:
• Heavy card stock, black
• Tape of any kind
• Scissors and an exacto knife OR for those scrap bookers out there; you can use your cutout tools.

step 1

You can see in this photo, I’ve cut a piece of card stock into a rectangle with a width of approx. 2.5 inches; this will depend on your lens. The length is will also depend on your lens as you will wrap it around the lens to form a tube.

Wrap the paper around the lens so it is snug; you need to be able to slide it off, but you don’t want it falling off…
When you get it sized, tape it so it is now a “tube” with both ends open. BEWARE the end result of this contraption is not pretty, but it does work. I’m sure someone can find a more substantial way to make this, for all I know there may already be something out there you can buy???

step 2

Step 3

Step 4

So getting back to next steps:

Step 5

Now you need to measure the diameter of your lens, or trace it onto the card stock. If you’ve traced it, add about 1/2 inch to the ouline, if you’ve measured add one inch, mark that new circle and cut out with sharp scissors.
Cut this out and knotch into the circle every ¼ inch. This is so you can fold the paper on to the “tube” you made earlier. Like I said, not pretty but it works.

You will also need to cut an area out of the middle of the circle; this is where your discs will go. In this illustration I’ve used a light colored paper only to make it easier to see what I was cutting. You must use black or very dark color heavy stock paper for this to work properly.

Now for discs.
Step 6

You need to cut out shapes, as you can see my silhouette machine has done this work for me, but if you have a steady hand use an exacto knife or purchase an inexpensive hole punch in a shape you like.

Simply tape the disc to cover the hole. I like to use different shapes, which is why I use the discs instead of cutting the shape from the round cover….you could do that too.

So now for creating pleasing and different Bokeh

I have found that 3.5 – 4.5 is the best f-stop when focusing on a close object and having bright points of light in the background.

Example 2

The composition on this image is really bad, as is the focus, but just trying to demonstrate the effect. This only works well if your subject is very close. Oh and in case you hadn’t figured it out….you have to place your lens on manual focus.

With bokeh star disc

With bokeh star disc

I set my for the shortest distance, place my cover over the lens and then move closer or further from the subject until it is in focus.

Example 3

I make this last image this past Christmas, Christmas lights are just perfect for indoor Bokeh.

Hope these instructions are clear and you have fun with this….just another tool to throw in your camera bag. Would love to see some of your images!

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