Tag Archives: bokeh

Master Bokeh with the Bokeh Masters Kit

Bokeh Masters Kit

Have you ever seen those photos with nifty bokeh shapes scattered in the background? Well, it’s actually easier to accomplish than you might think.

The shapes are a result of two things: bokeh and a mask (a mask for your lens, not your face). Bokeh is something that happens naturally with the right lens and lighting conditions, and the mask is something that you can purchase from one of our “local” photography bloggers.

Udi, from DIYPhotography.net, has put together the Bokeh Masters Kit so the rest of us can experiment with custom bokeh shapes. The kit includes a bunch of precut shapes and a holder that attaches to your lens so you can swap them out easily.

vmmm vmmmm birds walking_the_other_way

Bokeh Masters Kit Contents

The concept is simple — place a thin mask with a small shape cut in the center right in front of your lens. The shape acts as a secondary aperture and forces the blurry background highlights to take the shape of the cutout. Without the mask, the shape of the bokeh takes on the shape of the lens aperture. But the mask cutout is just the right size to only have an effect on the bokeh while leaving the primary image in tact.

Right now, Udi is offering up three different kits: Demo, Advanced, and Master. The demo kit includes the disk holder and five pre-cut disk shapes. The advanced kit includes the demo kit plus an additional 15 disk shapes. And the master kit includes the advanced kit plus eight uncut disks and a disk wallet to keep all your disks in one place. The uncut disks allow you to create your own shapes and designs.

Now, you might be saying to yourself “I can make this stuff with construction paper, why would I buy it?” Well, because the disks and disk holder aren’t made of construction paper. They’re made from a thin and durable plastic and the pre-cut shapes are laser cut to give you nice smooth edges on your bokeh. Plus, the cutouts are just the right size to give your bokeh nice definition while minimizing any negative effects on the overall image. The blank disks in the master kit also have a circular guide on them to help you keep the size in that optimized range — I made myself a Christmas tree shape and took a shot of… the Christmas tree, duh.

[UPDATE 12/11/2009] Sorry, I just found out that the blanks no longer have the guides because some of the testers found that it got in the way of cutting. But you can trace your own outline from the circle in the disk holder.

Christmas Tree Bokeh

I’ve known Udi for a few years now, and I was lucky enough to get a pre-production kit a few months ago. It was really neat to mess around with the kit and give some feedback to Udi (which he did take and work into the final product). So I’m pretty excited to see the end result of Udi’s hard work — he really has put a lot of effort into these kits. If you’re interested in the kit, visit the links below.



And if you guys have any cool bokeh shots (all shapes are welcome, even plain old circles or pentagons), feel free to drop them in the comments below!

Link Roundup 03-29-2008

A quick reminder before we get into the regular links: Tomorrow (March 30, 2008) is the Laguna Beach Photowalk for anybody in the Southern California area. It might rain a little bit in the morning, but thing should be cleared up by 2PM when we meet. Now on with the links…

  • Giclee Paper Choices and Applications
    Jonathan Penney
    A master print maker covers the various types of giclee papers, ranging from watercolor to canvas.
  • FAQ: Photo Filters
    A great guide to the various photo filters out there.
  • Essentials for Film
    The Meditation of Life
    One film photographer’s guide to shooting film… light meters, notebooks, tripods, spare batteries, spare film, filters, and of course the old school leather case to tote your antiques around with.
  • PROJECT: Iron Chef Photography – Fork: Voting
    Neil Creek
    Some really amazing results from an interesting photography project. Neil Creek asked his readers to take a photo of a fork, and urged them to get creative with it. The participants certainly did that!
  • Top 10 Wired Reader Self-Portraits
    10 great self portraits from the readers of Wired, chosen by the readers of Wired.
  • About Bokeh
    Tutorial on Bokeh of lenses, especially spherical aberration and its effect on an image. Extremely technical explanations, but a great read if you can follow it all the way through.
  • Quick-Fix Guide to Common Photography Problems
    Beyond Phototips
    Here’s a short list of problems that you may encounter on your journey of discovery in photography, along with an equally short list of fixes to get you back on the road.
  • Shooting Tethered From Your Camera Into Lightroom
    Photoshop Insider
    A five step tutorial for using your camera tethered with Lightroom.
  • Photography 101 – Lenses, Light and Magnification
    digital Photography School
    In this lesson of photography 101, Neil covers everything you need to know about how lenses work. The article talks about brightness, f-ratios, magnification, field of view, and much more.
  • 16 Studio Lighting Schemes Explained
    If you’re a lighting dummy like me, this article will help to “shed some light” on the mystery behind those studio setups. Each of the 16 schemes shows a lighting diagram and a sample photo.
  • Photoshop Express Stuff
    Lots of buzz this week about Adobe’s launch of Photoshop Express, their new online photo editor. In case you missed out on any of the buzz, here are some tidbits from around the block. John Watson from Photodoto has a quick review of Photoshop Express, as does Jeff from PhotoWalkPro. But watch out, David Woof and Aaron Hockley point out a glitch in the terms of service that grants Adobe a little too much freedom with your images. Then John Nack speaks to this issue and assures us that Adobe is working to revise it. The moral of this story: read the terms of service before you sign up for online services. Also check out the video introduction to Photoshop Express from a couple of the “Photoshop Guys”.

Link Roundup 01-19-2008


  • Revisit and Retouch
    There’s not much time left on this one, but you still have a chance to get in on it. Inspired by a previous Epic Edits project, Ryan is asking his readers to process a photo from his archives. So give it a shot, I’m curious to see what other people come up with. I’m still working on my entry.


  • Are 14-bit Raw Images Really Any Better Than 12-bit Raw?
    Earthbound Light
    From the earliest days of raw file capture with digital cameras, they have always been 12-bits per pixel. Now both the Nikon D300 and D3, as well as the Canon 40D can do 14-bit raw captures. But since 14-bit files are bigger, are they really any better?
  • DIY Flash and Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers
    digital Photography School
    Most of us can’t afford a full lighting rig – however what if there was a way to experiment with the type of lighting gear that pro photographers use without spending too much money? What if you could make it yourself.
  • “Best Photos From 2007″ by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers
    29 photographers from around the globe show off their self-chosen best photos from the year of 2007.
  • A Proposal for the Creative Commons
    Dan Heller’s Photography Business Blog
    A proposal to require CC-users to register themselves, thus adding a layer of trust (and complexity) to the whole system.
  • Saving About $50 On a Bounce Flash
    Digital ProTalk
    David shows us a neat little DIY project for flash lighting accessories.
  • How to Create Bokeh in Your Photos
    Beyond Megapixels
    Great introduction and overview for working with and achieving bokeh (background blur).
  • Guitars for Sale
    The Image Crucible
    A well-done critique of one of my photos… though, it’s not exactly one of my better photos (the critic chose it, not me). Regardless, I’ve been reading the Image Crucible for several weeks now, and the author does a VERY good job at providing a well thought out and informative critique.
  • Video of the Week — Sorry, no video this week.