I'm no professional photographer but I do like to take photos and play around with different techniques. I especially like the effect you see here, the "bokeh" effect which combines a sharply defined subject with an out-of-focus background. I think it creates a really beautiful, dream-like effect and really helps to emphasize the detail of your main subject. Incidentally, the word "bokeh" refers to the areas which are not in focus and means "blur" in Japanese.
The key to creating the bokeh effect is through lens aberration and manipulating the shape of the lens aperture. Of course, it's not an easy thing to achieve without a really good camera but there are some simple methods you can try to block out the background in your photos to create a blur.
Here's an easy how to that I found online:
You will need :
One large aperture lens One sheet of black paperboard
1. Cut and shape the sheet to make a fake lens hood that snugly fits on the lens.
2. In the middle of the filter cut out the desired bokeh shape - for example a heart. You will have to play around with the size and you can check it by looking through the viewfinder. On the 50mm lens @ F1.8 a 15mm heart gives a metering value equal to F3.2, so it can probably be a little bigger (you can use a puncher or cut it by hand).
3. Set your camera to its lowest aperture value (completely open) and snap away.
Handy hints: The background should be brighter or comparable to the subject itself. You will not be able to get the desired effect in low-lit background.
Try to minimize the difference between the camera and the subject. The closer the subject; more the chances of blurring the background; thus, more of out-of-focus effects.
Post-photo techniques: Of course, you can also cheat and use everyone's favorite photography tool, Photoshop which offers several approaches to re-creating the bokeh effect, involving masking.
Here are some other cool bokeh effects shots I found online:
Happy snapping! Let me know how your photos turn out.
Sources of Information
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