El Bokeh Wall!

I started my first 365 project in flickr with a 365 Days Bokeh Project.  After awhile playing with Christmas lights with bokeh, I tried thinking of a new bokeh background.

I tried using plastic bottles and different reflective materials for the background until I ended up with using a very simple material found in the kitchen which gave such an amazing result. Aluminum foil.

I have seen many people also using this technique but I just wanted to share how I do mine. I call it “The El Bokeh Wall”

El bokeh Wall

What You Need

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Prime Lens(For best bokeh result)
  • Lights (Continuos or Flash)

How To

Step 1: Get as many aluminum foil you will need for covering the background

Step 1

Step 2: Crumple the foil together and make a ball

Step 2

Step 3: Lay the foil flat again without removing the crumples – the crumples will provide the specular highlights which in turn create the magnificent bokeh.

step 3

Step 4: Stick the foil to the background

step 4

Final Setup


BG Focus

  • Being a a “Strobist” I normally shoot this at ISO 200, 1/160, f1.4 (using a 50mm 1.4 lens – which gives a great bokeh).
  • Depending on the distance and the speedlight I use, normally the power of my flash will be around 1/32-1/64 on my subject.
  • Then I will have my background light on the floor pointing at the “El Bokeh Wall” @ around 1/16 -1/8 power.
  • Lastly, I put gels on my background flash to change the color of the El Bokeh Wall.

Plain and Simple

sample 2

sample 3

sample 4

sample 6

sample 3

sample 7


  • E

    great tip and execution!

    • LSG

      thank you! :)

  • Jason Wright

    How did you get EVE to float in the last picture?

    • Hasan Jensen

      Probably some fishing wire that was cloned out afterwards in photoshop

    • LSG

      Eve came with a stand, that I just photoshopped out :)

  • Andrea Tani

    Great article! Simple and effective method, the best solutions often comes in simple packages

  • justme01

    Great idea! I’ll have to try this

  • joe_average

    yes, very cool! thanks!

  • Jeff

    You killed Cardbo!

  • Joe Adams

    This is brilliant, I experimented today and I am thrilled with the results. Thanks for the great tip!

    • LSG

      feel free to share the results here

  • Nester

    Great idea! Thanks!

  • Frank

    Focal length of the prime(s) you used?

  • P1ay

    Thanks for writing this article, I hope you do not mind but I used your technique here.

  • $15094174

    Excellent source of inspiration. Thank you!

  • jdkruger
  • Simon