Discussions (28)

How To..... (with any lens)

manimalmagic has left the building [deleted] says:

There are still many questions on how to do this effect properly, even here in this great group :)
Here are some basic instructions I did when writing the piece for the DIY Photography site.

Step 1

One kit lens, 18-70mm.
One piece black card.

Step 2

Check that black card completely covers lens.

Step 3

Find middle by drawing two lines as shown:

Step 4

Draw shape roughly.

Step 5

Cut out shape - it must be small.

Step 6

Place pre-cut shape onto lens and tape or otherwise hold it in place with the shape right in the middle.

(note size of shape compared to size of kit lens)

Step 7

70mm, f/5.6.
If you made your shape correctly this is what you will see.
The doll is one foot away from the camera.
The fairy lights three feet from the camera.

How do you know how big of a hole to make and what settings to use on any lens?

The shape you make must be smaller than the aperture in your lens.
Take the focal length that you wish to use (eg 100mm)

Divide this by the aperture value that is smallest on your lens (eg f/2)

In this case the diameter of the lens aperture is 50mm.
If you make your shape smaller than 50mm across the effect should work as shown above.

50mm f/2 - shape must be less than 25mm across
75mm f/2 - must be under 37.5mm across
100mm f/2 - must be under 50mm

50mm f/2.8 - must be under 17.5mm
50mm f/3.5 - must be under 14.2mm

The better you cut out your shapes the better the effect will be. Keep a small shape, and cut it out well, and yours will come out well defined also.
Originally posted at 8:43PM, 8 December 2008 PDT (permalink)
F a b i o (a group admin) edited this topic 103 months ago.

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Precious ♥ Snapshots says:

I've tried doing this with my kit lens 18-55mm lens and I just can't seem to get the bokeh effect. I don't know if it's me doing something wrong, or if I just can't get this look with the kit.
107 months ago (permalink)

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Angela Penn says:

Hey precious, I couldn't get it to work either using the same lens as you. I used my new 50mm prime, using the above instructions, tried it from 1.8 - 2.8 and worked great! I then tried it on my kit lens using the same shape and you could totally see the cut out through the lens, just looked like vignetting gone wrong! I'm sure there is a way to do it with this lens but I tried loads of times and gave up. I did however get a blurry kind of star shape with the kit lens but nowhere near as good at the 50mm.
107 months ago (permalink)

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F a b i o is a group administrator F a b i o says:

great guide!! thanks. will add a link to it in the front page :-)

The idea is to make the hole even smaller when using a kit lens "slow lens", like manimalmagic explained:

f/1.8 or f/2 = about 25mm or less
f/2.8 = 17.5mm
f/3.5 = 14.5mm

18-55mm @ 55mm = f/5.6 = 9.8mm

and I need to try it with my kit lens too, I've just sold my 50mm to help buy a new camera :]
107 months ago (permalink)

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Angela Penn says:

Hmmm I tried using a 1cm hole (star) but was still obviously too big. Do you have to take into account the 1.6x crop factor? (Sorry if it's a dumb question, I'm new!).
107 months ago (permalink)

manimalmagic has left the building [deleted] says:

It is not a dumb question - we all have to learn somehow :)
I use the kit lens above - but all kit lenses should do it.

So on mine I use it around 55mm I guess, and at f/5.6, and like Fabio says this should mean I need a hole around 10mm in diameter.

Try just making a hole. Don't worry about making it shaped.
Pick 55mm, pick f/5.6 and punch a round hole in the card with a pencil, only 4 or 5 mm wide
Now you should see a regular photo when you look through the viewfinder instead of a black card with a hole in it.

You just need then practice with the shape of the hole afterwards til you get the effect you want.

The crop factor should actually work in your favour in this case, but the important thing is making sure your shape is smaller than your aperture and you should be fine
107 months ago (permalink)

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C. Strife says:

here is my work. used a filter cut a ring with black paper and acetate paper to reinforce. then cut out shapes in boxes that slide in for easy switching of shapes.

Filter with Custom Bokeh Shape by C. Strife


50mm 1.4 Nikkor-S wide open
Lens Lust by C. Strife

Originally posted 107 months ago. (permalink)
C. Strife edited this topic 107 months ago.

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Angela Penn says:

Oh wow that is really pretty! I'm doing a wedding in Jan so will try and get some lovely heart bokeh for that too. Just another (possibly dumb) question....

Does it always have to be night time? I know the lights would show up better at night but I've only ever seen one day-time one before.
107 months ago (permalink)

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lissykeeper {Leona} says:

I took this image with my kit lens. The most important things to remember when using any lens is your apeture mask must be smaller than your apeture opening (the original poster explained how to find the size) and you have to be far enough away from your light source to get decent bokeh to began with. I played around with this a lot to get this shot just the way I wanted it. The main subject was around 10 ft away from the lights that created the bokeh and she is only about 3 foot from the camera.

SuperStar Alissa
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 76 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/2 EV
Originally posted 107 months ago. (permalink)
F a b i o (a group admin) edited this topic 103 months ago.

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Bella Valentina Photography {Jess} says:

Fantastic! I finally managed to try this out yesterday and got it to work too! I had a heck of a time, had to turn off my auto focus, etc...

However, when I tried to focus on something in front, it wouldn't throw the back out enough for the shapes to take effect. I really want to play with portraits with the shaped bokeh in back!
107 months ago (permalink)

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Oh, So...Photo says:

i seem to have trouble with focusing seems like my lens has trouble finding a point to focus on. is this common
106 months ago (permalink)

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F a b i o is a group administrator F a b i o says:

Oh, So...Photography

That's possible, your camera's auto focus system can get confused when you place the paper shade in front of the outer AF points as show in red here:

But if you change the AF sensor mode to "single area" then it should work because it will only use the middle sensor:

106 months ago (permalink)

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Ubiquitous Frame says:

What size should i make the hole for my lens and at what focal length/aperture should i shoot at? I have the 28 - 135mm canon

I was thinking of picking up a changeable hole punch set to do this but if it needs to be a specific size that wont work
101 months ago (permalink)

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F a b i o is a group administrator F a b i o says:

You should get the best results from the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 at "28mm f/3.5" try to find a small or mini paper punch to try, the hole should be about 14mm.
101 months ago (permalink)

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Ubiquitous Frame says:

nice , going to stop by the art store this weekend and see if i can get this done =)
101 months ago (permalink)

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JusaJus says:

Awesome tips, very thorough. I guess I have to go and make another bokeh filter lol.
100 months ago (permalink)

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hunnybun8890 says:

Here is what my UV filter looks like with the cutout on it. Heart is about 9mm at it's widest point.
For Canon 18-55mm kit lens.
TIP: Zoom all the way out, stand at least 10 feet away from the lights & keep them out of focus. Turn off Auto Focus.

IMG_8455 copy by hunnybun8890

Here is what I got:
IMG_8453 copy by hunnybun8890

96 months ago (permalink)

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BHCMBailey says:

I'm totally missing something here. Using the same lens (18-70mm) at 70mm and f/4.5, I cut my triangle shape to about 15mm. I get the shape in the photograph, but I don't understand how you get it to frame the whole scene?!

In other words, when the shape is in front of the lens, I can only see a tiny fraction of the scene because the mask is... well, masking 80% of the view. How do you get the camera to see the whole scene with the mask on the lens? If I zoom out to 18mm, even more of the visible scene is masked.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Analyst 1 says:

If you're seeing the mask itself in the photo you need to have your point of focus further away.
The highlights & the mask must both be completely out of focus.

My initial attempts were with close-up shots where it just didn't work - the mask was to much in focus.

It took me quite a while to get something that had a subject in focus whilst still showing the effect. My model was definitely getting fed up by then!

The effect is easiest to produce with lenses which have a shallow DOF.
75 months ago (permalink)

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