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

04.20.11 @ 11:43AM Tags : , , , ,

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.


[image by Gianmaria Veronese]


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Description image 6 COMMENTS

  • PouncedeLeon on 04.20.11 @ 1:04PM

    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?

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • really nice video. i did exactly the same a couple of months ago using thick card and experimented in the rain

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

    Fantasy wedding
    Vancouver wedding portrait photography

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