Bokeh is defined as “the blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field“. With a standard lens, the bokeh is circular-shaped and can be more visible when you use a wide aperture, such as ƒ/1.4, ƒ/2.0, etc. One really fun thing you can do with your cameras is to create your own DIY filter to give the background bokeh a different shape. There are several different ways you can craft this, but the basics behind it are simple:
- Use black cardboard
- Cut out a shape in the cardboard
- Put the cardboard with a cut shape in front of your lens
I chose to create the most simple, portable, and easy-to-use shaped bokeh filter out there. Some tutorials show how to create a “base” filter holder that sits on your lens, but you might need to create multiples in different sizes to work with all of your lenses. The method here makes a simple shaped filter that you hold in front of your lens to get the same effect. It requires that you hold your camera one-handed, but you can also use a tripod if you need extra support.
Here are the steps I used to create my DIY “shaped bokeh” filter: