Thursday, September 23, 2010


I’ve been slacking on the camera mod tutorials, and until I have access to a darkroom again, I don’t have any wonderful toy camera updates (although I’ve been shooting, I even walked Mt. Shasta Blvd today with my Diana Mini).

So today I made a bokeh filter for my DSLR (although you can put it on just about any camera that accepts filters).  Bokeh is a way of describing the shape of out of focus items in a photo.  For a more in depth explanation, visit The Wiki Bokeh Page.  Before I jump into making the filter, I’ll just show what it does.  These are out of focus shots of string lights.

Without Filters


With Bokeh filter, which I cut into a heart shape.


So, the purpose of a bokeh filter is to change the shape of out of focus items.  You want to block the lens with the exception of a anything-shaped hole that is about the size of your widest aperture.  When  you finish and look through the camera, none of the frame should be obstructed.


I built mine with a step ring that I bought in the wrong size.  Big difference between 58-48 and 58-38.  But it’s width did create a nice base.  I then cut a heart into a piece of cardstock and electrical taped it on.

IMG_0864 IMG_0866

Make sure it’s centered.


Sample shots:

So, I found this works best with lights and you need a good distance between your subject and your background so it falls out of focus as much as possible.  The more out of focus, the bigger the spread of the shape of the bokeh.

IMG_0888 IMG_0893 IMG_0903 edit

I also noticed this during editing and thought it was fun.  The eye glimmer from the flash is heart shaped as well.


The fun thing about this, is you can use any shape you want.  Starts, octagons, squares, whatever.

An alternative way to build this filter is to just create a sleeve that slips over the end of the lens.  A Google search will bring up a lot of different methods for making filters, different examples and results and even bokeh filter kits.

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