What the Heck is Bokeh?

It's that time of year when there are lots of twinkly lights about and people mention getting some bokeh in their photographs. Are you thinking "What the heck is this bokeh thing?"? Well I can tell you, and give you some tips on how to achieve it.

Bokeh is where specks of light in the background of a photograph are blurred out into shapes or circles. All of the photos below were taken in front of Christmas tree lights.

snowman photo

Christmas card

Gingerbread house

To get the bokeh effect, you have to have a distance between the subject and the lights. The further the better. You also have to shoot on a wide aperture like f4. As the light levels will be low, it's also helpful if you have your camera on a tripod and use a shutter release.

The photo will the gingerbread house was taken with a filter in front of the lens. It had a snowflake shape punched out of it which transforms the lights into snowflake shapes.

So go out, find lights, have a main subject and have fun photographing bokeh!

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