Making Your Own Bokeh Shapes

Bokeh is the out of focus or blurry areas of a photograph. The wider the aperture a camera is shooting on, the softer the Bokeh is. In this cool DIY video, Matt from Make Magazine, shows an easy way to add a little flair to your pictures by creating custom shapes for your bokeh. Although everyone seems to break out this technique with stars and hearts around Christmas time, as Christmas lights are a great light source for this technique, here are a few more creative examples.
























































Natalie E.

































Erik Minnema



Or, If you'd like a little more extreme example, Gramatik uses the effect in their dubstep video "Solidified"

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Adam Cross's picture

Bokeh is the out of focus or blurry areas of a photograph" I'm glad you wrote this. too many people seem to think that Bokeh only refers to out of focus lights.

James Robertson's picture

Except it's still wrong, bokeh refers to the aesthetics of the blurred area, it's not the existance of blur.

Adam Cross's picture

I suppose every source regarding to the subject of Bokeh is wrong, too? right? let me bow down in your presence, oh omniscient one.

James Robertson's picture
Adam Cross's picture

you're going to quote Ken Rockwell!? pah! cya later.

KGB's picture

You were doing OK until you decided to quote Ken Rockwell, what blew your cred Jimmy Boy...

Did you folks even read KR's piece? It's actually one of the much better explanations of bokeh, and lacks the usual Amazon/BH/D40+18-55 plugs.

Eric Gould's picture

What's up with Ken Rockwell... do you find him not knowledgeable or  too promotion oriented. 

Yovan's picture

LoL :)) EPIC fail quoting... I don't care what definition is, as long as it's a good pic with or without 'BOKEH' then so be it :p

Not really a new technique - I remember getting a set of these "filters" (IIRC they were meant to be used in the Cokin A filter holder) free with a magazine in the early to mid 90s.

But still interesting to see it make a bit of a comeback recently.

Nick Viton's picture

Westcott makes Titanium Hand Punch Craft tools that make cleaner shaped cuts, so that you don't get the "fuzzies" like you see in the above sax image.

This is a video that I made with the technique, love to know what you guys think!