Sometimes you want to create a stunning portraits indoors but you are stuck with those seamless white, black and gray sheets as backgrounds. Well, how about creating a about creating a bokehlicious wall like this?
I love using out of focus bokeh circles, they are beautiful, unique and pretty dramatic. There are many ways to create those bokeh shapes in the background (I;ve seen light bulbs and LED lights used before). The method below, however, is simple and it will create hundreds, and thousands of little bokeh shapes.
Things to prepare
- Aluminum foil
- Strobes (I use 4 Canon 600EX-RT)
- wireless flash transceiver (I use the Cactus V6)
- a round flash softbox
- a fast lens (I use the Canon 85mm f1.8)
- color gels filter
- 3 big boards (for mounting the foil and flaggin some light)
The back wall was about 2 meters high and 2.5 meters wide, I made it from two big boards. I used about 4 or 5 aluminum foil rolls to cover the wall. (The kind of foil you get in the local supermarket). As you mount the foil, make sure to crumple and uncrumple the sheets before putting them on the board. Each little crease will later become a small bokeh ring, so make lots of them.
Camera and strobe Settings
- Camera settings: ISO50; 1/16; f1.8
- Camera: Canon 1Dx
- Lens: Canon EF85mm f1.8 usm
The setup is pretty simple. 2 of the strobes light the model a bare one from behind, as a kicker, and a diffused one from the front. I used a Round Flash, but any soft modifier will do.
Another 2 strobes point to the wall (both fire at a low setting – 1/32). I added blue gels on the strobes to add some kick to the photo. Without the gels and color the aluminum wall looks like, well, an aluminum wall.
Remember that we needed another big board? I use it to flag the light coming from the key. Otherwise it will contaminate my nice blue (or yellow, or purple) bokeh circles with white.
Here is a short video showing this technique
And here are more photos taken with this technique
About The Author
P.S. you may recall a similar method use for smaller objects.
P.P.S. If you like lots of bokeh shapes, you may wanna check the Bokeh Masters Kit.