Enchanting photo effect: Build your own bokeh filter

Enchanting photo effect: Build your own bokeh filter

Not only at Christmas, photographers can achieve great effects for photos with bokeh effects. In this guide we explain what that is and how you can build a bokeh filter for the DSLR lens yourself.

Winter does not really mean well with photographers, because they often lack an essential prerequisite for photos: light . In the cold season it gets light late and dark again early. In December, however, very special pictures can still be taken.

Brightly lit Christmas markets as well as the countless fairy lights and glowing Christmas decorations create particularly atmospheric photos. You can then send them for example as a Christmas card. And we will show you another trick: With a self-made bokeh filter you will amaze all friends and relatives. Of course, this also works in any other season under the appropriate lighting conditions.

Bokeh – what is it actually?


The term bokeh describes the targeted use of blurring effects in photography.

The term bokeh comes from the Japanese and means something like "blurred or" blurred ". In photography it describes the quality of blurring areas in a picture. Many photographers deliberately play with the blur in order to achieve certain effects.

If certain appearances appear in the blurred image areas – for example bright circles – then there is talk of a bokeh effect. These are generated by the lens of the camera. So they are not to be seen in the photographed scene. There are hard and soft, calm and restless bokeh effects as well as many ways to get creative with them.

What do I need to create the effect?


A bokeh filter with a fir tree motif is very easy to build yourself.

A photo effect with bokeh can also be created very specifically. This requires a camera with a fast lens, for example an f / 2.8 aperture. However, the larger the aperture, the better. Playing with bokeh effects also works best with a long focal length .

Fixed focal lengths usually produce smoother appearances than zoom lenses . A large camera sensor is also helpful, but not essential. Ideally, you should use a digital SLR camera with a full-frame sensor and a bright telephoto lens.

Make a bokeh effect yourself

Bokeh Help

To build the bokeh filter, you need some material.

Would you like your Christmas photos to have shining stars in the background? Then you have to build an appropriate bokeh filter for the camera. Fortunately, this is very easy. All you need is some cardboard, a pen, a pair of scissors or a cutter knife and a rubber band, for example a hair tie. Place the front of your DSLR lens on the cardboard and draw the circle around the lens with the pen. Then add two bars left and right, which will later be used to attach the filter.

Now you have to record the desired motif, which will later be shown in the pictures. In the Christmas season there are of course stars, fir trees, snowflakes or bells. You can play with lucky clovers on New Year's Eve and with small hearts on Valentine's Day.

Cut out your filter and the motif with scissors or a cutter knife and place the cardboard over the lens opening of the lens. Simply put a rubber band around the lens and the filter attachment – the bokeh filter is self-made.

Let's go: take pictures with a DIY filter


At Christmas time, shining stars look good in the background.

Your camera is now ready to conjure up great Christmas bokeh effects. Find a suitable environment now, preferably with many small light spots in the background. Decorated fir trees with fairy lights and other Christmas decorations are ideal. But there is also a nighttime street scene.

If another motif is to be shown sharply in the foreground, then place this as far as possible from the background with the lights. The best way to find the perfect camera position is to try it out. To make the background blurry and the filter's motif appear in the picture, select a small aperture number or a large aperture . This option of aperture selection is offered either by the automatic timer (A) or the manual mode (M) of the camera.

Now you have to focus on the main subject – either the autofocus takes care of it or you help manually. If you take pictures with a long focal length and have the foreground in focus, your stars, fir trees or snowflakes should be clearly visible in the background.


  1. Bokeh describes the quality of blur areas in an image
  2. Bokeh effects can be created in a targeted manner and are visible, for example, in the form of bright circles on the photo
  3. The prerequisite is photography with a large aperture
  4. A long focal length is ideal, fixed focal lengths are better than zoom lenses
  5. There are optimally many light points in the background, your main motif in the foreground is as far away as possible
  6. Bokeh filters can be built with just a few utensils and conjure up the desired motif in the background
  7. Place the finished DIY filter on the front of the lens, choose a small f-number and focus on your main subject

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