‘Tis the season and with all of those holiday lights around, who can resist a little bit of festive bokeh? In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create something a little bit different to get a new twist from those tree lights!
What You’ll Need
- A pencil
- A sharp craft knife
- Thin black card
- A low-light lens (a lens with a large maximum aperture)
- A surface to cut on (I recommend a chopping board)
1. Make a Lens Hood
The first thing you need to do is cut part of your card into a strip wide enough to fit around your lens:
You'll have something like this:
2. Make Your Template
Next, draw around your lens with the outer glass (where the lens cap is) face down:
You don’t need to be neat about this part. Once you have your circle, draw another circle about an inch out like this:
Cut out the larger circle then cut out little triangles from the outside, to your inner circle without cutting into the inner circle like so:
Do five or six of these until you can bend the outer parts like this:
We’re going to use this to bend around the strip we made before.
3. Cut Out Your Custom Shape
Draw your custom shape in the middle of your circle. Keep it quite small, a large one won’t work very well. For ease of demonstration I’ve chosen a small Christmas tree. You do need to be quite neat about this part as it’ll show up on your bokeh if you have any rough edges. Once you’ve drawn your shape, cut around it carefully with the craft knife. Remember to use your cutting surface, I don’t want the blame for any holes in carpets!
4. Make Your Attachment
Take the strip of card you cut out earlier and wrap it around your lens:
Tape it to itself to form a snug fitting (but easily
removable) tube. Next, take your custom bokeh card and tape it to your tube, covering
any gaps with tape.
You should now have something that fits to your lens but comes off easily to look like this:
The size of your ‘tube’ does matter, so you may want to trim it down after you’ve tried it out.
The technical stuff
It’s not easy to get great results in Auto as you’ll confuse your light meter massively so you may need to flip to Manual mode, or at the very least Aperture mode. Choose your lowest aperture, a fast(ish) shutter speed and remember to manual focus.
This is a fun method of creating some really abstract bokeh shots. Here’s what my Christmas tree looked like with the custom filter attached:
This works with any points of light so try it
with candles or get some battery powered fairy lights for custom bokeh on the
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