I own a few odd-ball prime lenses that hover around the 50mm-ish lens length, and offer some unique bokeh, making them interesting choices for portrait photography. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “bokeh”, its the out of focus area in the image, or rather the quality or look there-of. For many this is very subjective – one person’s AWESOME bokeh is another’s busy, fussy background.
It’s the holiday season and I have a few cool tips to help you upgrade your portraits of family and friends this year. I am going to show you how you can make some glorious DIY portrait backgrounds, complete with bokeh balls, from your Christmas decorations. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, no worries, you can hit up the Dollar Store and make them from scratch for about 10 bucks.
Be sure to read to the end for My Top 3 Tips for Great Holiday Photos.
Bokeh balls. I wasn’t aware that was a phrase but apparently, it is, according to this rather amusing video by Kai and Lok. In the video, they are having a look at two admittedly wildly different lenses, both with the feature of having very wide apertures and seeing what the bokeh is like for each of these.
There’s so much we can argue about when we talk about bokeh: whether we like it or not, when and how should it be used, what’s “good” and what’s “bad” bokeh… In fact, different people even pronounce it differently. Still, it’s a fact that bokeh has become an integral part of photography talk and photography itself.
But how did we get there? What exactly is bokeh, when did it become a part of photography and how did it become so important? In this fantastic video, Simon of Simon’s utak guides you through the history of bokeh and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about it.
After something of an at-home hiatus, John Hess at Filmmaker IQ is back and he’s dropped a doozy with his new video. Have you ever wondered why the bokeh in anamorphic lenses is oval-shaped? Have you ever wondered why it’s oriented in the wrong direction relative to the de-squeeze that anamorphic footage has to go through?
Well, it’s nothing to do with the aperture, as John explains in this video. Well, put into its simplest explanation, the reason is that you’re effectively shooting two different focal lengths simultaneously when you use an anamorphic lens. One for the horizontal field of view, and a different one for the vertical.
Cosina has just announced a new and improved version of its Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 lens. Seven years after launching its predecessor, Voigtlander Nokton Vintage Line 50mm F1.5 Aspherical II VM lens is about to hit the stores. And if you like the retro swirly bokeh, you’re gonna love this lens.
It can get a bit monotonous in isolation, especially if you’re out of work right now. But hey, there’s always something to do, and Mathieu Stern has some crazy ideas and makes them real. After the crappy lens made from toilet paper, he now turned to Lego and made another working lens. And unlike the previous one, this DIY lens actually does a pretty good job!
Sometimes the simplest solutions give the best result. After all, finding simple and cheap solutions is one of the main reasons why we turn to the DIY approach. Canada-based photographer Rafal Wegiel made his own bokeh wall using nothing but tin foil. With color gels and the right lighting, he shot amazing, colorful portraits in his own home. We chatted with Rafal about how he did it, so you can try this neat idea in your studio or even at home.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has built an admirable collection of rare, weird, super-cheap and DIY lenses so far. With his latest finding, he kinda brought all of this together. He laid his hands on a Cinestar 75mm f/1.9, a cinema projector lens. After making his own adapter, he used it on a Sony a7 III and tested it in a video. If you are a swirly bokeh fan, you’re gonna love it.