How to create bokeh effects you’ll love

Create heart-shaped bokeh effects for your Valentine’s Day photos.
Taken by Christopher McGinnis with an OM-D E-M10 and M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8.

Bokeh is a Japanese word that roughly translates as “out of focus.” In photography this term is applied to the aesthetic quality of the defocused areas in an image. Typically, we see that the light reflections in the defocused areas are blurred as circles. This is because they acquire the shape of the lens iris. But did you know you can easily change those shapes?Follow these simple steps to create heart-shaped bokeh effects for your Valentine’s Day photos.

2 CUT OUT YOUR SHAPE

We recommend using a piece of black cardboard, as it will block the light so that your cutout will work as a new aperture. The size of the cutout should be about 1/3 of the circumference of the lens. It’s important that the edges are nice and smooth, as any imperfections or rough edges will become evident in the bokeh.

3 PREPARE YOUR BACKGROUND

For the background, try using Christmas lights, street lights or take advantage of the light reflected on a shiny surface like crumpled aluminum foil.

4 PLACE YOUR SHAPE IN FRONT OF YOUR LENS AND SHOOT

Your background highlights will take this shape. For best results, keep your lens at its widest aperture setting.

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