Home Photography Ideas: Sparkling Bokeh Photos in Your Living Room
Watch Video: Home Photography Ideas – Sparkling Bokeh Photos
Shooting bubbles is a great way to experiment with your camera and get some fun and creative shots. However, rather than shooting outdoors and dealing with the elements, we’ll be using a simple indoor setup and a fast lens to capture inspiring images.
We set up a simple roll of black background on a table, next to a large window for some nice side light. As we’re using a fast 50mm f/1.4 prime lens at its maximum aperture, our depth of field will be very shallow – ideal for capturing sharp bubbles as main subjects, as well as lots of blurry bubbles for beautiful bokeh in the background. Context.
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When shooting with a shallow depth of field, your focus needs to be absolutely perfect. So we focused on a dish bottle beforehand, raised on blocks, to set our focal plane for the bubbles we want to capture in sharp focus. Then we removed the bottle, but kept a block on the tabletop that’s out of sight so we know where to blow the bubbles.
Once we were done, we took our shots into Photoshop to spruce up our bubbles and add a little splash of color to the proceedings. Read on, get your bubble mix ready, and get ready for a fun photo project!
Prepare to shoot
01 set up
We use a black paper background to make the bubbles stand out and keep it simple by just using window light on one side to illuminate the bubbles. This way you also get a nice window reflection on both sides of the bubbles.
02 Bubble solutions
We placed a reflector on top of the table to bounce some light under the bubbles. We bought different bubble mixes to create different sized bubbles for better variety in our shot; the yellow tube creates bigger bubbles than the small blue pot.
03 Camera on tripod
Our camera is fixed in position on a tripod, which leaves our hands (and lips!) free to blow bubbles – and it makes it easy to combine images later in Photoshop. We use a remote control to trigger the shutter right after blowing the bubbles.
04 Quick Goal
We use a fast lens to capture some of the bubbles sharply and make the bubbles in the background very blurry. We use a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens in manual mode wide open, for a very shallow depth of field, so that the bubbles behind create a nice bokeh.
05 Exposure Settings
The benefit of using a very large aperture is that you end up with a fast shutter speed – great for capturing fast bubbles! At ISO800 we could achieve a speed of 1/500 sec. Next, we focused on the tableware bottle sitting on blocks.
06 always blowing bubbles
Now just blow bubbles and press the button on our remote at the right time. We shot the largest, sharpest bubbles, then blew smaller bubbles 6-12 inches behind our plane of focus to capture blurry bubbles to fill the background area.
01 Batch Processing Raw Images
Once satisfied with our shots, we need to combine the images in Photoshop. We first batch processed our 36 RAW images (we reduced the blacks to get a dark background and increased the contrast of the bubbles), then we output them to JPEG format.
02 Load images into layers
From Bridge, instead of opening all the images in Photoshop and cutting and pasting them to create layer after layer, just highlight all the images, go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Layers Photoshop, and Photoshop will create an image with layers.
03 Reveal all bubbles
When Photoshop has sorted all the layers, simply highlight them in the Layers palette (shift and click, scroll to the last layer) and select Lighten from the blending mode drop-down menu to reveal all the bubbles on each layer .
04 Move and adjust bubbles
You may find that each layer of bubbles is not in the ideal place for the best composition. No worries, just highlight a layer and use the Move Tool to move the bubbles around. We also used the Free Transform tool to adjust the size of the bubbles and move them to better places.
05 Inject some color
To add color, we used the Hue/Saturation slider to change the colors of some of the larger bubbles. If any bubbles are too distracting, remove them or highlight their layer and lower the opacity to 60-70% to darken them.
06 Final touches to finish
We saved a JPEG image (which flattens the image into a single layer) and enhanced the overall image using curves. By creating a strong S-curve, we were able to darken the black background and lift the bubbles for a high contrast shot with big impact.
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