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How to Create Custom-Shaped Bokeh

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The shape that a small spot of light will take in a blurry area of a photograph usually depends on the shape of the lens’ aperture. Some lenses create bokeh that is completely round and others create bokeh that is polygonal. With a few simple craft supplies, you can create bokeh that is heart-shaped, star-shaped, or any shape you wish.

To do this, you will need to create a lens hood with black paper, scissors, a pencil, and tape.

1. Trace the circumference of the side of the lens that you’d place a filter with a pencil on black paper and cut out the solid black circle shape from the paper.

2. In the middle of the circle, draw the shape that you want your bokeh to be (heart, star, etc.) and cut it out of the circle while keeping the circle’s edge intact. To do this, poke a hole with the end of the scissors and then cut out the shape.

3. Next, cut a long, rectangular strip of black paper out and bend it around the circumference of the circle. Cut any extra length off the strip if you need to. Secure the strip to the circle with tape all around the edge to prevent any light getting in from the crack.

That’s it! Your lens hood should fit snugly over the end of your lens for quick use when you want to use it.

The more intense the spots of light in the blurry area of the photo are, the more sharp the bokeh will be. Holiday or Christmas lights are a great source of light for shaped bokeh.

Photo by George Deputee.

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