In my recent post about my DIY Christmas Ornament Garlands, I included a photo using my new favorite photography trick: custom bokeh shapes. You can see this below in a photo of the lit garland around the columns in front of our house:
There are tutorials for doing this all over the internet, but I wanted to share with you guys how I did it anyways, because it totally hits all my favorite craft points by being easy, fast, and super inexpensive (ok, only that third one if you already have the camera).
All you need to do is make a mask for your camera lens, and cut out whatever shape you want in the center. I made this heart one with my silhouette but creating a circle the diameter of my lens (2.7 in) with a small heart centered inside (0.7 in), and a strip that was about 1.5 in wide by the circumference of my lense (about 9 in). You can get the .studio file here. I taped the pieces together with electrical tape and used a rubberband to make sure it stayed securely on my camera.
Then just set your aperture as far down (wide open) as you can (the picture above is at f/1.8), focus on somewhere other than wherever your lights are, and snap away!
This can be done with any shape you want – and quite a bit of detail can be captured. Search for ‘bokeh’ on flickr or google images, and you’ll find some really fun other pictures too 🙂