Bokeh is a Japanese word that roughly translates as “out of focus.” In photography this term is applied to the aesthetic quality of the defocused areas in an image. Typically, we see that the light reflections in the defocused areas are blurred as circles. This is because they acquire the shape of the lens iris. But did you know you can easily change those shapes?Follow these simple steps to create heart-shaped bokeh effects for your Valentine’s Day photos.
CHOOSE A LENS WITH A LARGE APERTURE
This technique works best when you are using an interchangeable lens camera like a PEN or OM-D, and a lens with a large (low) aperture value, such as the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8, M.Zuiko ED 75mm f1.8 or one of our ultra-fast F1.2 PRO prime lenses.
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CUT OUT YOUR SHAPE
We recommend using a piece of black cardboard, as it will block the light so that your cutout will work as a new aperture. The size of the cutout should be about 1/3 of the circumference of the lens. It’s important that the edges are nice and smooth, as any imperfections or rough edges will become evident in the bokeh.
PREPARE YOUR BACKGROUND
For the background, try using Christmas lights, street lights or take advantage of the light reflected on a shiny surface like crumpled aluminum foil.
PLACE YOUR SHAPE IN FRONT OF YOUR LENS AND SHOOT
Your background highlights will take this shape. For best results, keep your lens at its widest aperture setting.