How to Capture Christmas Bokeh

Whenever I post Christmas tree pictures, I get asked how I get the christmas light bokeh ( those out of focus round or hexagonal lights). So I’m going to try to give you my best advice. 

  1. Choose the right lens

Generally speaking it is easer to get bokeh with longer lenses. But you can still get christmas bokeh with wider lenses if you follow some other steps. This picture here was taken with the 50mm which is not really considered a long lens.

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2. Use a larger aperture

It’s easier to get bokeh with say a Fstop of 2.0 then it is with an Fstop of 8 because your depth of field is smaller. Essentially your slice of focus is thinner allowing for more of the background to be out of focus. However, you don’t want to go so wide that your subjects are out of focus. I very rarely shoot below 2.0 even if my lens goes to F1.2. 

 I used a wide aperture and long lens for this picture.

I used a wide aperture and long lens for this picture.

3. Get your subject away from the lights

The closer your subject is to the lights the more they will be in focus and therefore less bokeh you will have. You want your lights to be out of focus so put some separation between you and your background. In the picture below there’s no separation between the subject and background therefore that bokeh is not there.

 See when there is no separation between your subject and background it is hard to get bokeh,

See when there is no separation between your subject and background it is hard to get bokeh,

4. Get close to your subject

Again this creates the separation between your subject and the background! It does wonders for getting bokeh!

 I’m right up in her face here. See what it does to the lights in the tree?

I’m right up in her face here. See what it does to the lights in the tree?

Have fun!!! Tag me in some of your bokeh pictures. I’d love to see how you do!!!

Shokofeh Sora