Bokeh is an adaptation from a a Japanese word meaning blur. In photography this term is used to describe the quality of the areas in the picture which are not in focus.
When referring to Bokeh, we can distinguish some of it characteristics:
- Is the light/dark gradient smooth or sharp?
- What shape will a small dot of light take what it is in the Bokeh area? (mirror lenses for example, create a bagel like Bokeh)
We can play with those two variants to create a special Bokeh.
You will need :
- One large aperture lens (a Canon 50mm F1.8 (B&H) is used here, but Nikon 50mm 1.8 (B&H) will also do, and the superb Nikon 50mm 1.4 (B&H) will work even better)
- One sheet of black paperboard
1. Cut and shape the sheet to make a fake lens hood. The Diameter is made so that it snugly fits on the lens.
2. In the middle of the filter the wanted bokeh shape is cut out – in out example a heart is used. I’m not sure how big a hole the shape can be. But you can check it right away by just looking through the viewfinder. On the 50mm lens @ F1.8 a 15mm heart gives a metering value equal to F3.2, so it can probably be a little bigger (you can use a puncher or cut it by hand).
3. Set your camera to its lowest aperture value (completely open).
Here are the parameters for the example shown above:
- Lens – Canon 50mm F1.8
- “Lens hood” Diameter: 70mm (2.75 inch)
- Hole diameter: 15mm (0.6inch)
Here are two more great examples for this technique from RottieLover (note – there only one “real” heart in each picture):
If you like the effect there is also a commercial version available – the Bokeh Masters Kit.
The Following Lenses Will Give Great Bokeh Effects: