I have another photo trick to share with you today. The popularity of this one always rises around the holidays, because there are so many lights to try it with!
Have you tried creating a bokeh effect? It is those pretty blurred light bulbs.
I played a lot with this technique recently for a few of my posts. Blurred holiday lights make a great photo backdrop.
This trick is super easy. In just a few steps you can create those pretty blurred balls of light.
- Use a low f-stop, like 2.0.
- Put some distance between you and the lights you want blurred.
- Focus on something else in the foreground to get the lights blurred in the background.
- Use a tripod and a timer/remote to reduce camera shake
I clamped the white branch to my floor lamp, so the laminated fabric gift tags hung in front of the tree. The floor lamp is about 10 ft. from the tree. I focused on the gift tags with an f/stop of 2.0, so the blue tag was in focus and the lights in the background were blurred.
If you want to capture something in the foreground with blurred lights in the background, all you have to do is focus on your object. The object should be some distance from the lights. The further the distance the bigger the blur.
If you want to capture the blurred lights without anything in the foreground, you need to put something a foot or two in front of the camera to focus on (with shutter release pressed halfway down) and then remove the object before pressing the shutter release all the way down to take the picture.
DIY Bokeh Filters
And, if you want to try something really fun, try making shapes with the lights. It is so easy.
Take a black piece of paper (I used a sheet of construction paper). Cut a small shape in the center of the paper. Hold the paper over your lens while taking the picture. I cut my filters into a circle and stuck them right inside the ring that goes around the lens on my camera. You can also use a bit of tape. Just make sure the cutout is centered on your lens.
The light blurs in your photo will be shaped like your cutout. The kids loved coming up with new shape ideas to try. Can you tell it has been really cold here and they haven’t been able to go outside?