Tam Nguyen Photography

New York Beauty and Fashion Photographer

It’s the most Bokehlicious time of the year!

Posted on November 30, 2010 in Photography, Tips

It’s the most Bokehlicious time of the year!

I like Christmas. It’s the season of bright and colorful lights. It’s the season of happy people all around you. It’s the season of gift buying and exchanging. It’s the season for good photography opportunity.

I’ve waited all year since last time I had a chance to shoot Christmas light. It’s not just regular light, but it’s “bokeh” light. The idea is to shoot light out of focus, with a little piece of heart-shaped paper in front of your lens so that all the light sources look like the shape of the cut-out. It’s hard to explain, so I’ll try my best to give you a quick tutorial below. Or, just visit BokehMaster and buy them pre-cut.

  1. Go to Michael’s (or any handcraft store), get some black construction papers and punches with diff shapes (I got a heart, a star, a butterfly and a flower)
  2. Find a piece of hard plastic (hard enough to stay strong, but soft enough to cut). In my case, I went to Walmart and grabbed a piece of “for sale” sign. Trust me, it works perfectly!
    [Here’s why you need 2 pieces of papers: the punches i got only cut at the edges, it doesn’t cut where you want it, i.e. the DEAD center of the circle. plus, I wasn’t sure it was going to cut the “for sale” sign]
  3. Punch a hole on the construction paper (mine was close to the edge). Then, cut a perfect square around it. Make sure the hole is in the center of the square.
  4. Measure and cut out a perfect (well, maybe not as perfect as I wanted it to be) circle. In my case, it was 51mm for my 52mm filter. Make sure it sits inside your filter perfectly. I made it a little smaller, it kept on falling off!
  5. Use a razor blade to cut another perfect square inside the circle. This square is bigger than the hole you punched, but smaller than the square around the hole (so that you can later glue it on top). In my case, 20x20mm was perfect, since my hole was really small.
  6. You’ve guessed it, glue the piece of paper on top of the circle. I used crazy glue. This is very important: make sure the hole on the paper is at DEAD CENTER of the circle. A little off, and your lens would be very confused (ask me how i know!)
  7. For a better presentation, I painted the whole thing black after I was done.

Good luck and have fun guys. Here are some final product shots.

Xmas bokeh light

Xmas bokeh lightXmas bokeh light

Xmas bokeh light

Xmas bokeh lightXmas bokeh light

Visit my Flickr set for the rest of the pictures.

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