So what is a Bokeh (pronounced BOH-kay)? The word originates from the Japanese word Boke which means blur. Simply put, it's the quality of blur in the out of focus areas of your photos. Your lens already has this when you purchase it. Most lenses naturally produce circle or hexagonal bokeh, but you can buy custom shapes to create really fun images. Lots of people use these for night shots where highlights are out of focus, but you can use them for anything you like! I love using mine for portraits and macro photography.
So here's a really quick and easy way to make your own!
Things You Will Need:
-Thick paper or light weight cardboard (I used cardstock with a dark print)
-Pencil/Pen/Marker (whatever you have lying around to trace with)
-Exacto Knife or Razor Blade (I have a pair of tiny scissors that work perfect)
-Tape (I like to use clear and electrical)
-Measuring Tape (I used a tailor tape)
- The lens you are making it for and something a big bigger to trace your outer circle. (I used a duct tape roll)
1.) Trace your outer circle onto your cardstock.
2.) Trace your lens inside the outer circle on your cardstock.
3.) Measure the circumference of your lens.
4.) Cut a strip of cardstock one or two inches longer than the circumference of your lens. The width isn't too important right now, a half inch should work fine. This will be your border piece.
5.) Cut out your circles and make notches all the way around the edge.
6.) Decide what shape you would like to create and trace in onto the middle of your circle.
7.) Using you exacto knife or razor (or tiny scissors) cut out the shape.
8.) Use your hand to press the outer tabs down around your lens to start forming the shape of your Bokeh.
9.) Tape your border piece together at the correct length. Be sure to double check that it will easily slide onto the end of your lens.
10.) Slide the Bokeh into the border and tape the inside to hold everything together.
11.) Using tape secure the top edge by creating a seal from the border piece to the Bokeh. I like to use electrical tape because it stretches and I can be sure no light leaks will occur.
And Voila! Fits like a glove!
The one I made here is actually a little to tall for my lens. You want your shape to be as close to the lens as possible to avoid vignetting. I can just trim the border piece to correct this. Below are some examples of the use of a bokeh on a 35mm lens.
The natural bokeh created by my 35mm Lens
Lighting bolt bokeh
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start using your brand new home made bokehs!