holiday lights and bokeh, a match made in heaven

This time of year, all of us photo geeks go C-R-A-Z-Y. We can’t pass up an opportunity to break out that camera and snap pics of the Christmas tree, ornaments, outdoor lights, etc. Pretty much anything is fair game. Or haven’t you noticed the onslaught of images on Facebook and Instagram as folks prepare for the upcoming holiday?

I like to go crazy with bokeh, and rightfully so. Holiday lights and bokeh are a match made in heaven. I’m obviously a fan! I do LOVE those little white lights!!

What is bokeh? More importantly, how is it pronounced? Bokeh, which is pronounced bow-kay or bow-keh, refers to the out-of-focus light or blur you find in the background of many photos taken with a digital camera. The resulting shapes and colors are created by light and glass (in your lens) as well as distance and focus.

Love the idea, but not sure how to achieve the look? Darcy from my 3 boybarians  offers guidance on how easily to capture those little balls of light in your holiday photos. You can also make shaped bokeh. Check out Amanda’s tutorial at Kevin & Amanda to learn how to customize bokeh.

Lacking a DSLR camera? All is not lost, if you’re like most people and take the majority of your shots with a smart phone or compact digital camera. The bokeh effect can also be achieved after a photo is taken by using Photoshop. If you don’t already have it, you can download a free 30 day trial of Photoshop from Adobe. A bokeh effect can be achieved using textures and brushes.

Alex of Alex Beadon Photography offers a simple 10 step tutorial using textures to achieve bokeh bliss. Beadon offers a link to download the texture used in the tutorial.  Always wanting more, I found a collection of over 50 textures that everyone should have.

Alternatively, Ash Davies utilizes brushes to achieve an awesome bokeh effect. His Australian accent was a bit much for me, so I found the written version of this tutorial, which is accompanied by a quick video (set to music) demonstrating the process. There are over 30 sets of bokeh brushes for use in Photoshop.

Can’t get enough bokeh?  Yeah, me either. Now, get out there and take advantage of holiday lights to create beautifully blurred photographs!


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