Bokeh is the fancy photography term for specular highlights (pretty orbs of light) that show up in photos when using a wide apeture and a long focal length (higher mm number on your lens/more zoomed in) or it’s another word for dust ghosts if you are one of the hosts from that hilarious Ghost Hunter show on the Discovery Channel XD

Whatever it is, it’s extremely pretty and can be used in really interesting effects in photos! You can even make your own custom shaped bokeh mask in any shape you want… or just buy a kit… but yay making things!

I made a heart one and here are some of my results:

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The heart cut out shapes the little round lights in the background into hearts or whatever other shape you can imagine.

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More of my playing around later, let’s actually make one!

You need:

  • Black paper
  • Knife or scissors
  • Rubber band
  • Camera
  • Pen

I actually started making/experimenting with these so long ago that the photos are with my old phone and have black edges XD

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Trace around your lens on a piece of black paper.

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Cut a circle out of the paper which is around 3-4cm larger than the circle you just drew.

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Make little cuts from the outside to the drawn circle all the way around.

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Decide on your shape and cut it out of the center. If you’re going to use a knife please be very careful, a perfectly shaped heart isn’t worth losing a finger over!!!

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Fold all of the tabs around the outside up so it makes kind of a cylinder.

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Once you’ve done it all the way around you should slot it on the end of your lens.

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Use rubber band to hold it place and that’s it!

These work best at night time in photos that have lots of lights in the background. The hearts here are cars:

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Here are some of the photos I took when we went out 😀

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This is the same photo with more and less blur so you can see smaller and bigger hearts.

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I love the way the Melbourne lights reflect  on the water.

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Keep in mind that whether this works will depend on whether your camera has a large enough aperture and long enough focal length to create a good bokeh in the first place.

A good lens to use would have an aperture larger than f/2.8 and is longer than 50mm.

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And here’s how it looks without the hearts, little round circles.

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Go have fun with yours, you can make any shape at all!