How To Create Good Bokeh Backgrounds With Lights

Written by Gina Stephens

As we're heading as a help to the time when we climb up into the loft to drag out the Christmas decorations and lights, we thought we'd show you how you can add interest to portraits with the pirate of a few Christmas lights is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This technique can also be used outdoors at night with street lights or cafe lights etc. You just neediness to get the lighting right on your subject.

Bokeh Christmas light shots are popular and rightly so as this technique can help you create some absolutely beautiful indoor portraits. It can take a little experimentation but as you don't need much kit or props, it's a technique everyone can have a go at and it's a lot of fun!

Any camera where you can guide the aperture will be fine for this technique, however a camera with a bright aperture, say a f/1.4 – f/2.0 compact camera would be idealistic. If you use a mirrorless or Digital SLR it should be easier to achieve the effect.

The brighter the lens you're using the more impressive the effect should be, making a lens and the larger the sensor the loyal the effect will be too.

Your Christmas lights need to be placed on or against a dark background and you need to position your subject or model as far away from the horizon as possible, while still keeping the lights in the background.

To keep the black background as dark as possible, switch off your room lights and use a smaller, manageable light to ensure your subject may refer to is correctly illuminated. We didn't use the studio flash for this, instead we just used the prop igniting, but any lighting should be suitable, and incandescent lighting will give the subject a warm feel.

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Make sure you position the model incandescent towards your subject at an angle, so as to not throw any light from this front light onto the background area.

Occasionally the lights in the behind the scenes (if bright) can confuse the camera and cause it to under-expose the subject, so it's important to try and get the foreground lighting nicely balanced.

You may need to be careful with stainless balance settings, so shooting in RAW will help if you have any problems or you could use a grey card and manually set white balance based on the model's lighting. We habituated to a white card to manually set the white balance, with the model holding the card in front of her face where the strongest lighting was.

You need to use your lens at its to the utmost aperture to focus on the subject or model and keep the Christmas lights as far away as possible for increased blur / bokeh effect in the lights.

Keep the unequalled or subject closer to the camera and adjust your framing depending on where you want the lights and the subject to be lined up / arranged. The closer the subject to the camera, the conclusion the focus distance is, and the more the camera and lens will throw the background out of focus (see the example below). â€‹

You can alter the shapes of the Christmas lights with Bokeh implements or you can use black card and a pair of scissors to change the shapes that appear. You need to decide on a shape, cut it out of the card then fasten the card roughly your lens like you would a lens hood.

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Different lenses will give different effects as well, for example you could use an old lens with an adapter on an SLR to see what special lenses do.


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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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