How to take bokeh-ful photos with Christmas lights

How to take bokeh-ful photos with Christmas lights



Before we dive in, here’s a quick break-down of what bokeh is. Bokeh is the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light – it is that aesthetically pleasing circular shape that you see in many stock photos and professional portraits. Christmas is a season of lights, and the perfect time to perfect your skills at capturing bokeh.

The first step is to have the right lens. Any focal length between 35mm-300mm, with an aperture of f/1.4-f/4, is preferred. The second step is to turn your mode dial to aperture priority (Av or A mode). You will want to open your aperture as wide as possible, the wider the aperture, the smoother your bokeh will look. In aperture mode, you will need to keep an eye on your ISO and aperture. There are two ways to proceed: Take a photo of a subject with plenty of bokeh in the background, or to shoot just a photo of a bokeh itself.

In order to take a photo of a subject with plenty of bokeh in the background or foreground, you will want to make sure your subject is a sufficient distance away from your holiday lighting. Depending on your lens, you may find that certain distances may offer a better bokeh effect. If you are shooting with a lens 50mm or above, you will notice that you do not have to ‘work’ as hard to find where the background will start to create a beautiful bokeh.

If you are interested in only taking a photo of the bokeh, switch your camera or lens into manual focus mode. Toggle your lens out of focus until you notice that the bokeh is to your liking and take a couple photos.

Now you have several gorgeous photos to share with friends and family! If you are having trouble, don’t be afraid to check in with your friends at The Shutterbug Camera Stores!


Have more questions? Schedule a 1-on-1 in-person photo class at the Shutterbug (1 hr for $45) online or in-store! Interested in renting from The Shutterbug, Beaverton? Give us a call for availability at  (503) 639-5088.