Before you put away those Christmas lights, try out this fun diy shaped bokeh. Sharp pinpoints of light work best to capture the fun shapes in these bokeh filters. I’ve been wanting to do this diy for a while, and finally finished the templates!
Yep! That’s a surfer. These bokeh filters are the most fun. Choose from hearts, horses, stars, snowflakes, leaves, batman, butterflies, musical notes, fish, birds, surfers and surfettes.
DIY Shaped Bokeh Materials
2 Sheets Black Cardstock 8.5 x 11
2 Sheets Printer Paper 8.5 x 11
Rubber Band or Hair Tie
DIY Shaped Bokeh Instructions
Save the following two DIY Shaped Bokeh Template jpegs to your computer, and print them out. One printout is for the bokeh filters, and the other is for a lens cover that goes over the lens hood. Use painter’s tape to tape the printouts over 8.5 x 11 black cardstock.
There are two dotted lines on the lens cover – one indicates where to fold the paper over the lens and the other indicates how the bokeh filters line up on the hood. Cut along the straight lines. It’s best to start with a Xacto knife, cutting the interior shapes first before cutting the outer line of the filters and lens cover. For filter shapes that have a little negative space, like the surfer and the musical note, glue a piece of acetate to the back of the filter and then glue the card stock in the negative space.
The attached lens cover filter fits a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon lens for a full frame camera. You can easily adapt it to any other lens by turning your lens upside down on the printout, centering it on the lens cover template, and using a mechanical pencil to draw a circle around it. Then adjust the side pieces to match the new lens diameter, and cut accordingly.
Once all of the pieces are cut out, pop one of the bokeh filters into the lens cover by sliding it through the slits marked on either side of the lens cover. Then, wrap the lens cover around your camera lens and fix it in place with a rubber band or hair tie.
When you’re finished, it should look something like this:
Time to shoot! These are experimental bokeh filters, so get out and experiment. Line the filter up so the shape is standing straight up and down. Otherwise, your bokeh shapes will sit at an angle. As I mentioned earlier, sharp pinpoints of light like twinkle lights, headlights, or electronic lights make the most defined bokeh shapes. Set the camera to the lowest aperture possible, and adjust the aperture and shutterspeed accordingly. I like f/1.8 with at least 1/800 seconds and the highest ISO I can get away with depending on the lighting conditions. The pictures end up with a campy fisheye effect and burned edges from the lens cover.
Aside from just taking pictures of light, which are cool, add a few other things into the frame to create a dialogue with the bokeh. You may need to illuminate the foreground objects with a little extra light or flash. Here are a few photos I took (and Chris took the last one of course). Looking forward to spending more time with these filters!
Anyway I hope you have fun using these bokeh filters! Let me know if you have any questions about them below.