Christmas Bokeh

Thank you for linking up your gorgeous Christmas trees yesterday!  There is still time to link up yours, just go here.  I’ll be featuring some of them soon.

I’ve always wondered how to create that cool bokeh effect in photographs (you know, those glowy white circles in the background on a Christmas tree).  I googled around the other night and found Kevin & Amanda’s blog post, which really helped.  The “trick” is to place something in front of your tree (about 8 feet from the tree) and focus on that image with your camera in manual focus.  With your lens open as far as it will go (1.4 to 1.8 for my 50 mm camera) bump your ISO way up (I used around 1250 for daytime and 2000 to 2500 at night).  Finally, my shutter speed was around 1/40.

Using my Nikon D90, I took a few photos and show you below what settings I had the camera on for each picture.  I hope this helps if you are aiming for some bokeh shots of your own.

With a Pointsettia . . .

Focal Length:  50mm
ISO:  2000
Aperture:  f/1.4
Shutter Speed:  1/40
Manual Focus
Three miniature Nutcrackers . . . 

Focal Length:  50mm
ISO:  2500
Aperture:  f/1.8
Shutter Speed:  1/40
Manual Focus
And my Old Navy slippers:)
Focal Length:  50mm
ISO:  2000
Aperture:  f/1.4
Shutter Speed:  1/40
Manual Focus
The above photos were taken at night, but these stocking photos below were taken in the afternoon when our house had some natural sunlight shining in.  I like how bright they came out without any editing.

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Focal Length:  50mm
ISO:  1250
Aperture:  f/1.4
Shutter Speed:  1/60
Manual Focus

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Tomorrow, Natasha at Schue Love is hosting our Christmas Cheer holiday party featuring tasty recipes of all kinds.  I made some dark chocolate and natural peanut butter cups and they were divine!  So easy to make, I can’t wait to share.  See you there!
And, I’ll be announcing the winner of the $100 Nordstrom gift card on Friday at Honey We’re Healthy.  If you’d like to enter, go HERE.
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  1. December 12, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    Great shots. You can also focus on something close to your lens, hold your shutter button down half way (to hold focus) and recompose if you want just bokah by itself. I do this and use the shots for backgrounds in photoshop.

  2. December 12, 2012 / 1:50 pm

    I love camera tutorials. I've been shooting in auto lately and need to get back into it. I have those same Old Navy slippes in gray. Love them!

  3. December 12, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    Thank you for such a helpful post!

  4. December 12, 2012 / 3:19 pm

    I know what I will be doing tonight! Playing with my camera 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. December 12, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    Very cute! I actually just posted about how to do this too – but in shapes! Bokeh = fun!

  6. December 12, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    Hey we're twinkies today! So funny. Love your pics.

  7. December 12, 2012 / 4:58 pm

    Great pics!! I didn't know the trick!! Thank you!!

  8. Chic Coastal Living
    December 12, 2012 / 12:36 pm

    You are so sweet to share this with us! I wish I had a better camera…Hopefully Santa is bring me one! XOXO

  9. Chic Coastal Living
    December 12, 2012 / 12:37 pm

    I'm going to add this post to my favorites and Pinterest so that I can use this info when my camera comes in! XOXO

  10. Kim @ NewlyWoodwards
    December 12, 2012 / 2:32 pm

    These. Are. Goregous.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'd love to try some shots like this of our trees. I'm thinking my 6-month-old is going to be what I focus on. Wish me luck. =)

  11. {Hi Sugarplum!}
    December 12, 2012 / 3:41 pm

    thanks for these tips — can't wait to try them! john took my new lens and wrapped it I think, so i'll have to wait. Wonder if you're taking a pic of just the tree…use the same settings?

  12. Courtney {a thoughtful place}
    December 12, 2012 / 3:54 pm

    Those turned out so well, Megan. Another reason to love the 50mm. Great explanation.

  13. erica
    December 12, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    Oh my goodness these pictures turned out beautiful! xx

  14. December 16, 2012 / 9:21 pm

    I loooooove Christmas bokeh photos – they look so festive and special! Well done for the photos you took, the camera settings worked out really well!

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