bokeh special effects – easy tips to get nice blurry background

Bokeh special effects

easy tips to get interesting lights background effect

In order to get the bokeh effects, the entire idea is to have light in the distant background which will be out of focus. The is basically and optical effect given by the lens. You need a lens with a big focal distance to achieve the best bokeh results and a telephoto lens will be suitable.

So what you need to do is to use your telephoto lens, have a subject close and the backgroudn lights as far away as possible., The further away, the better result. Obviously this is about night photography as during day time you will never have the sparkling lights contrast. So you need to ensure your proper exposure. If you wish to go for long exposures, a tripod will be handy, if not, bumping up to ISO will help you achieved decent results, but obviously this depends on each shooting situation.

As the next step to the bokeh special effect is to cut out a piece of paper or cardboard in install it in front of the lens. The bokeh effect will copy the shape of your cut out and that will create a nice background. see below few examples with a star cut out used in front of a 70-200 mm telephoto lens. The more lights you have in your scene the better and the variety of the shapes is lareg. you can do stars, squares, hearts, etc….just use your imagination

christmas lights bokeh0 christmas lights bokeh1 christmas lights bokeh2 christmas lights bokeh3 christmas lights bokeh4


If you have the inspiration to carry the cut out pice of cardboard with you, imagine the image above but instead of the candle light which is in focus, the subject is actually a wedding couple under a street spot light and have the street lights out of focus. I am pretty sure that is not something that you see every day.

The images below have not been done with a christmas lights, but with a laser pointer on the grass. I have used a long exposure in manual mode, aperture F2.8 ISO 100 and 4 seconds. The shots were taken at night time and I have used manual focus. The camera has been set n a tripod and the grass was out of focus completely.

The nice green star lights effects has been achieved by hovering a laser pointer horizontally though the grass.

laser lights bokeh0 laser lights bokeh1 laser lights bokeh2 laser lights bokeh3





About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography