You’ve seen artistic pictures of beautiful, big, blurry Christmas tree lights. This is a classic shot that many photographers take. It’s the out of focus or bokeh view of colorful holiday lights. We’re going to tell you how take your own Christmas pictures with this type of blurry background. Many of these tips can be used with a compact camera even if you don’t have a DSLR.
Use a Very Wide Aperture
There are two ways you can create the right situation for bokeh in your Christmas pictures. The first is to use a lens with a very wide aperture. The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Lens for Micro Four Thirds System from Beachcamera.com is a perfect lens for this. Get it now with an instant savings of $150! An aperture like f/1.8 lets in a ton of light and creates a very shallow depth of field in the photo. This means that anything you are not focusing on will be blurry. So whatever lens you have available, set the aperture to be as low a number as possible. On a prime lens you can do f/1.8 or f/2. But if you only have the lens that came with your camera, this will be f/3.5, in an unzoomed position.
Create Physical Space Between Subject and Background
The second way to create the right situation for bokeh is to actually manipulate your depth of field physically. You know you will be focusing on your subject, so you want to purposely put some space between your subject and the background that you want to blur out. The farther away your subject from the background, the blurrier it will be. Any kind of camera from Beachcamera.com will work with this tip. Even your point and shoot can create bokeh if you create enough space! Want a portrait with a blurry Christmas light background? Place your subject a good 10 feet away from the tree. Set your tripod just a few feet from the subject, allowing you to get a close-up of the person’s face. This places the Christmas lights far away from your point of focus, which gives them a good chance of being beautiful bokeh circles.
Artistic Bokeh Shots of Just Lights
The other thing you can do with bokeh is take artistic pictures of just the Christmas tree lights. You won’t be able to take this kind of picture with people in it though, since you force the camera out of focus significantly. Switch into manual focus, and then twist the focus ring until you get the desired effect. It will obviously not look focused from your viewfinder, so you’ll have to take several shots in small increments to see how big those bokeh circles are getting. Find that happy place where the lights look like overlapping circles, but not so big that they lose definition.