Don’t take that tree down yet! Get some bokeh practice in first!

I am by no means a professional photographer. In fact, this is my first time shooting bokeh using Christmas tree lights. However, I thought I’d share some great tips for a newbie just learning to shoot bokeh.

My fancy shooting space

I had better luck in the day time because I was able to shine more natural light on my subject. What you can’t see behind me is a huge window (like the one behind the tree) letting lots of light in.

TIP: You need a closer subject to focus on.

Don’t shoot an ornament hanging on the tree and expect a bubbling bokeh. Try moving father away. The bokeh should be your background.

TIP: The farther away you are, the bigger the bokeh.

closer vs farther bokeh

TIP: Shoot with your aperture wide open!

The larger the aperture, the smaller the number. This also depends on your lens.

AP vs Manual Snoman Bokeh

TIP: Shoot on Aperture Priority mode.

This is the BEST tip for newbie photographers. Set your camera to AP mode, set the aperture wide open (the lowest number), and shoot away. I used f/3.5 and f/5.0 in most of my shots but depending on the lens, you can set it as low as f/1.4.

TIP: Make sure your subject is well-lit.

Unless you’re trying to capture a low-lit dark shadowy type of image.

©Snowman and Santa

TIP: Try using manual focus.

If you don’t want a closer subject to focus on, try photographing your entire tree using manual focus.

Tree Bokeh

Your bokeh doesn’t look like everyone elses, not to worry, every camera and lens shoot different types of bokeh. Play around and find the one you like best!

(If you’re feeling creative, check out this tutorial on how to make shaped bokeh.)