Bokeh Using Christmas Decorations

Bokeh Using Christmas Decorations-1

Creating bokeh using Christmas decorations is quite simple and needs very little kit. In this first example I’ve used a speedlight through a stripbox to the right of the bottle as we look. The stripbox was set up so that just a little light reached a pile of golden tinsel at the back. Too much light would have spoiled the effect, so you have to experiment with the angle of the stripbox. 

The colour of the bokeh can be changed by using different coloured tinsel and the size of the bokeh can be controlled by the distance from the subject and the aperture. The subject is sitting on a black perspex base that reflects some of the bokeh so the bottle looks more surrounded by bokeh.

The more well known approach to creating bokeh is using fairy lights (the chains of small lights that you hang on a Christmas tree). Again, the size of the bokeh depends on the aperture used and the distance behind the subject. One potentially tricky aspect of working with fairy lights is that the wires risk being visible (albeit blurred) if the background is too light, so it is much easier working with a dark background.

In the larger image below you can see an example that combines both of the approaches suggested so far. Here we’ve created a mixed bokeh using christmas decorations (fairy lights and tinsel) that adds an extra layer of interest by the bokeh not being the same tone throughout. 

Bokeh Using Christmas Decorations-2
Bokeh Using Christmas Decorations-3

This type of effect doesn’t just have to be seen as something gimmicky and just for fun. It can work for product photography, for example. Below is an example using a combination of fairy lights and light bouncing off tinsel to create different colours of bokeh. The image has then been colour graded to pull everything towards the red so that it supports and enhances the lipstick more.

Bokeh Using Christmas Decorations-4

For more suggestions of how you might work with bokeh using Christmas decorations you might like to look at my post on using fairy light bokeh in portraits. Or, you may like to explore ways of adding bokeh in outdoor portrait photography.

© Original Art Photography by Joe Lenton, January 2019

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