Photography & Video

Bokeh” comes from the Japanese word for “blur” or “haze.” It’s used to describe the quality of the out of focus areas of a photograph. If you’ve ever read a photography forum, you’ll know that the word is often used to describe how a particular lens handles out of focus points of light. You can even hear bokeh being classified as silky, Hollywood-style, or cream cheese-like (honestly!).

When a point of light in a photograph is out of focus, it turns into a shape defined by the lens’s aperture. We can create a second, smaller, aperture to attach to the front of our lens in order to customize that shape. The result is a charming effect in the background of your photographs, as long as there points of light such as streetlights, candles, or Christmas lights in frame. In MAKE Volume 26 and on Make: Projects, Sindri Diego walks you through the process of making photographs with this neat effect.

If you need a little inspiration, there’s no shortage of great ideas out there for how to use this in your photography. And if you try out this project, post your best photographs to the MAKE Flickr pool.

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

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