In photography, bokeh refers to the blurry or out-of-focus parts of a shot. Bokeh can be good or bad—it all depends on how you use it. There are tons of ways to create a bokeh effect, whether you go the traditional route with lens filters, digital with Photoshop, or even from your iPhone.
With filters, you can use the blurred spaces to produce different shapes and colors.
If you have a DSLR and want to experiment with bokeh, this tutorial by Chris Perez over on Apartment Therapy will show you how to make a cheap, simple DIY bokeh effects filter, which he says will work best with a 50mm lens with a low f-stop.
Here's what you'll need:
- Black construction paper or posterboard
- Electrical tape
- X-Acto knife
Chris started by tracing a circle around his lens onto the construction paper, then used a ruler to draw a cross-hair through the center. Next, he cut a 3/4" hole in the middle.
He cut a 2-inch strip of construction paper to make up the sides of the filter, which he attached to the circle using electrical tape.
Since he wanted to be able to use his with a variety of different shapes, Chris put some Velcro on the front so he could make interchangeable filters. For each one, he cut a circle out of the black paper, then cut a shape out of the center and put on Velcro so that it could be attached to the filter.
Here are some shots Chris took with his filters.
Check out the tutorial over on Apartment Therapy for more details on building your own.
Looking for more cheap and easy to make filters? All you need is a lens cap and an aluminum can to make this simple pinhole filter. Want to learn more about bokeh photography? Be sure to check out some of our other tutorials.