Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blurry bokeh hearts ... for dummies.

Have you heard of bokeh?

It's like, blurry photos.  But not just blurry.  Apparently the term "bokeh" refers to the *quality* of the blurriness in the background of the photo.

I don't really get it either.  Basically to me it just means that your photos are freaking magical and gorgeous.

A few examples of bokeh:

See Through



Always the pretty one

Search Flickr for "dreamy bokeh" and see what you get.  Soooooo pretty!

And here is a kitty yawning.  But it is not bokeh.


Yeah man, see those pretty soft backgrounds?  I HAVE to learn how to do that.

You can do this too with bokeh:

hbw | happy (custom) bokeh wednesday

Whaaaat?  I could have SWORN up and down that that was a Photoshop effect.  NO!  It's just sweet freaking bokeh light.

So I found this tutorial online about how to make your own bokeehhhh shapes photos with your DSLR camera.

Hooray!  It looks so easy!  Any moron can do that.  Uhh, sort of.  It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally got it.


  • DSLR camera.  It says you need a macro lens, but I don't have one and I was able to do it.  It just took me a while to figure out what settings I would need.

  • Some twinkle lights.  You need little pin pricks of light.  A regular lamp won't work.  It's not small enough.  I used a sad mashed Christmas tree that I found in my closet.  My cats kept trying to eat it.

  • A lens hood.  See the tutorial for this.  You sort of have to guess on how to make it because there aren't directions.  But there is a picture, so it's sort of self explanatory.  Sort of.  Mine did NOT come out as nice as I wanted.

Here is what it's supposed to look like:

And here is mine:

But it works and there were no light leaks so whatever.  I'm pleased with it.  (Although I will never take it out in public.)

  • A tripod.  Don't even bother if you don't have one.  Your pictures will just be a blurry mess without it.  I used a cable release too so my fingers didn't even shake the camera.

Ok.  Now, if you're like me, that stupid tutorial doesn't make any sense whatsoever, so I will explain it in idiot terms.


  1. Put your fancy new hopefully-not-ghettorific lens hood over your lens.
  2. You need to use the fully manual settings on your camera.
  3. Find the number that is like 5.6 or 8.0 or something point something, and make it as small as possible. (This is the aperture. The smaller the number, the bigger the aperture, which makes absolutely no sense at all and they basically did this to make photography as confusing as possible. If you really want to know about aperture, Google it. I don't even know what it does aside from it makes my pictures look sweet when the number is small.)
  4. Find the shutter speed, or the number is is like 1/250 or 1/400 or even 1/4 or just 1".  This is how many seconds the shutter will be open.  So like 1" is one second.  Long time!  1/4 is a quarter of a second.  1/400 is one four hundreth of a second.  Again, this is confusing because the numbers that look "bigger" ie. 1/400, is actually a smaller/shorter shutter speed.  This is how it works in my head, ok?
  5. Now aim your camera at your twinkle lights.
  6. On your lens, put that on manual focus and twist it all the way to one side.  Take a picture.  Did you get your shape?  Is it upside down?  If it's upside down, twist the lens focus thingy all the way in the other direction.  Take another picture.  Shapes right side up?  Sweet!  You made bokeh!

Here is my first ever attempt at bokeh.  I think it turned out pretty awesome, for my first time, and with a completely electrical-taped up hideous lens hood heart thingy.

If you try this effect, show me your results!  I'm dying to see what you turn up with :)


  1. Nice! I always wondered how it was done. Even though I just bought a new camera I think I'm in the mood to get a SLR now ;)

  2. What kind of camera did you get??


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