Home Photography Ideas: Bespoke Bokeh Effects to Create Custom Blur
Watch Video: Home Photography Ideas – Custom Bokeh Effects
When you’re stuck filming at home, it can be really hard to get an exciting background. Even when shooting macro images, having just a plain white wall behind your subject looks a bit bland.
With this project, you can add bespoke bokeh background blur, which means you can add custom creativity to your images, so your macro scenes don’t all look like they were shot in your kitchen!
In some cases, such as flower photography, a subtle, indistinct background may be enough to add extra depth to your images. If you’re photographing miniature animals, you can use this effect as a miniature green screen to add them to a safari scene (check out our DIY green screen photography tutorial to see how you can take this technique to the next level).
And of course, you can choose an incredibly bold background – like the one we used here – to add an eye-catching special effect to your photos. All you need is a macro or telephoto lens and a laptop or tablet, so let’s get started…
• Learn more: What is bokeh?
Make your own bokeh
01 The background
Open the image above in full size (by clicking on the widget in the top right), then save it to your computer. Now open the file and take it to full screen on your laptop, tablet or TV – or alternatively try searching the web for a design or background of your choice.
02 Place the tray
We placed a black acrylic panel on our laptop keyboard to reflect the background, although you could use a mirror or other reflective surface. It also provides a stable, flat surface on which to place your subject. Moving the figure away from the screen will increase the blurring of the background.
03 The goal is the key
The longer your focal length, the blurrier the background will be due to the perspective compression that occurs in longer lenses – and the wider the aperture, the greater the effect as well. We used a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, mounted on a tripod to keep it rock solid.
04 Star Settings
In manual mode, use the widest aperture available on your lens to produce shallow depth of field. Use the lowest possible ISO on your camera and you can also use a long shutter speed since you are using a tripod.
In order to really highlight your object and blur the background, turn on autofocus and move the focus point to the corner closest to your object. You may find it easier to do this with a solid white screen, as the AF will then lock onto the contrasting edges.
06 Go further
Once you’ve set up your scene and adjusted the settings, try taking a few shots adjusting the positioning of your subject. Now you can start venturing out and trying out bolder and more creative scenes!
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