Elia Locardi is Back

How To Customize the Shape of Your Bokeh For That Special Someone

Are we sometimes a little too obsessed with the quality of bokeh in our photography? Yes. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a little fun with it.

In his latest video, photographer Mark Duffy get's into the spirit of things for Valentine's Day by creating an image of a box of chocolates with some wonderful heart-shaped bokeh in the background. On passing glance, one would be forgiven for thinking that the heart-shaped bokeh was created using a bit of Photoshop wizardry, but as you'll quickly find out from the video, this was all done in-camera using some cheap materials — assuming you already have a fast lens.

While I had seen something like this before, the idea of placing the paper in a step-up ring is a welcome one, as the version I saw would have you sticking it to the front of your lens with tape. Not ideal. As Duffy mentions, you will need a fast lens — like his Sony 135mm GM f/1.8 — to get a crisp effect, so all you f/4 and above people may have to wait a while before you can get a romantic shape on your bokeh. The good news though, is that you don't need expensive strobes to be able to pull off a shot like his. He's just using sunlight and a pair of Nanlite LED tubes to create an up-lighting effect on the box.

Have you tried this technique before?

Mike O'Leary's picture

Mike is a landscape and commercial photographer from, Co. Kerry, Ireland. In his photographic work, Mike tries to avoid conveying his sense of existential dread, while at the same time writing about his sense of existential dread. The last time he was in New York he was mugged, and he insists on telling that to every person he meets.

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1 Comment

Nice one thanks for the feature 😁