Bokeh-licious! {how-to make your own Bokeh filter}

February 24, 2011 |  by  |  Blog, DIY

Once upon a time, we bought a camera for Mr.T, because he thought, he would need one. Turns out, he did not. Now I consider it my camera (since I am using it since approx. day 30) and I am calling it Oscar. I am not a professional by any means….but I have a love for capturing images and tend to carry Oscar with me everywhere.

I always loved Bokeh Photography, but I never knew, how to do it. When I had some time the other day, I did some research.

Everyone has seen pictures like this with points of light in the background. The technique where shallow depth of field allows you to throw everything but the subject out of focus is known as Bokeh. What I’ve always noticed is the way points of light look in the out of focus area. I also learned that you can shape them, and when I finally got around to it, I made my very own Bokeh Filter:

You will need:

1. One large aperture lens like the Nikon 50mm 1.4

2. One sheet of black cardboard.


1. Cut and shape the sheet to make a fake lens hood.

Do keep in mind that the smaller the bokeh mask hole you ‘ll make, the less the light it’s going to get to your lens, forcing you to either:

– Shoot with a higher ISO and therefore getting a grainier (more noise) picture.
– Use a tripod or even worse get a blurry shot instead.

This is my setup:

2. Set your camera to its lowest aperture value (completely open).

3. Stay as close as possible to the subject, as close as your lens allows you to focus.

4. Very Important: Try to keep your subject as far as possible from the highlights in the background that will become your bokeh, move the subject when you   can further for the background, or position yourself somewhere else so the background will be further from your object.

It took me a while to figure it out! My first shots looked like this:

So, why did I get that heart cut out shape? It turns out, that I was not far away enough from the light garland. My next pictures turned out like this:

My model ‘Barbie’

And then I took some pictures without the cap:

I am still not totally happy, but i will try again, till it’s perfect, and then I will let you know;-)

Good night!

//xoxo, Sibylle//

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1 Comment

  1. Well, what a coincidence, I lived in Alsace 20 years before coming to Canada, my hubby is from there ! Great place to find men apparently …, and tonight going to an Alsace restaurant that opened in Bromont.


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