April 20, 2011

How to Customize the Shape of Your Bokeh in Photos and Videos

Did you know you can change the shape of your bokeh by cutting out paper shapes and placing them over your lens? Maybe you did. I didn't, though, and found out about this simple trick from DANIELS (the guys who brought us this music video), in their mini-video for "Who Do You Love" by Sue Scrofa. Hearts, shapes, letters, entire words: you can make your background highlights appear in the shape of anything you can cut out with scissors.

Get some stiff black paper/posterboard, cut out circles the size of your lens diameter (leaving a tab with which to hold/remove the cutouts), and use scissors or an X-ACTO knife to cut out your desired shapes. Hold the paper in front of a lens with a large aperture (i.e. any fast prime). That's it! There are also some more tips below for properly centering the shapes.

Links:

[image by Gianmaria Veronese]

Your Comment

6 Comments

Can this be used in a less extreme way to get a better looking set of aperature blades out of your camera do you think? Or is it not worth it for the extra light loss?

April 20, 2011

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PouncedeLeon

That's cool to see this technique used in video. I learn't about it through some Canon eos tutes a while back and always wondedred how it would translate to the video function.
The clipd I saw it on is here, you can also find some other useful, simple and well explained clips through this series:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBjoonaWQAA

April 20, 2011

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Ben

I saw some videos where they cutted a word on the paper, and when things went out of focus they had the shape of the word, it was really cool.

April 21, 2011

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maghoxfr

really nice video. i did exactly the same a couple of months ago using thick card and experimented in the rain http://vimeo.com/20162145

April 22, 2011

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rich

Great tips need to try it out for my wedding photography. Thanks again for posting.

Fantasy wedding photography.com
Vancouver wedding portrait photography

April 22, 2011

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interesting! thanks for post, i should try it sooon :)

April 25, 2011

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Ammar