How To Customize the Shape of Your Bokeh For That Special Someone

Are we sometimes a little too obsessed with the quality of bokeh in our photography? Yes. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a little fun with it.

In his latest video, photographer Mark Duffy get's into the spirit of things for Valentine's Day by creating an image of a box of chocolates with some wonderful heart-shaped bokeh in the background. On passing glance, one would be forgiven for thinking that the heart-shaped bokeh was created using a bit of Photoshop wizardry, but as you'll quickly find out from the video, this was all done in-camera using some cheap materials — assuming you already have a fast lens.

While I had seen something like this before, the idea of placing the paper in a step-up ring is a welcome one, as the version I saw would have you sticking it to the front of your lens with tape. Not ideal. As Duffy mentions, you will need a fast lens — like his Sony 135mm GM f/1.8 — to get a crisp effect, so all you f/4 and above people may have to wait a while before you can get a romantic shape on your bokeh. The good news though, is that you don't need expensive strobes to be able to pull off a shot like his. He's just using sunlight and a pair of Nanlite LED tubes to create an up-lighting effect on the box.

Have you tried this technique before?

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1 Comment

Mark Duffy's picture

Nice one thanks for the feature 😁