Christmas lights bokeh


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

I love it when someone asks a question that gives me the opportunity to write a blog post and share the tips with everyone! At my last workshop Sonia asked about how to get good Christmas lights bokeh shots.

First, what is it?

BOKEH = noun. a Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of a photographic image.

Now, how to get it?

The technique takes a bit of experimenting and practice but is really pretty simple to do.

1. You need some Christmas lights.

2. You need a lens that allows a large aperture (small number) like f/1.4  – f2.8. This throws the background of your shot out of focus and any Christmas lights in the background will become little balls of light. All lenses will give you some bokeh but the larger the aperture (the smaller the aperture number) the narrower the depth of field and the more bokeh!

2. Get close to your subject.

3. Focus on what you want to have sharp. Bokeh looks best when there is an “in focus” subject (like your kids) in the foreground.

4. Put your kids as far as possible from the background you want blurred out. You can make the little balls of light bigger by increasing the distance between your kids and the out of focus lights in the background.

5. Consider your shutter speed or use a tripod. Because you want your kids to be in focus (without camera blur), if you are shooting indoors at night you will need to make sure your shutter speed is fast enough for hand holding (see this blog post about avoiding the blur) or drag out the tripod to hold the camera still.

If you have any examples of Christmas photos with nice bokeh, we’d love to see them in the members gallery.

I'm a professional child photographer who loves to share my passion for photography. I am located in the beautiful Sydney, Australia and provide practical and inspirational photography workshops and online tips and tricks for anyone who want to take simply stunning photos of their kids. Come find me on Google+

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