12.15.2010

how to get Christmas tree bokeh

I truly believe I have the sweetest e-friends ever! I really do. I thought yesterday's picture would be a major snoozer, but in fact I received several emails asking how to do it.

You'll be happy to know it's super simple!

What to do:
Set your camera to AV mode
Choose your widest aperture (the smallest number) Mine is 2.8, for example
Take your camera off auto focus. (Put it on manual focus)
Back waaaaaay up as far as you can go away from the tree
Zoom in as far as you can, filling the frame with the tree
Play with the focus (of course you're aiming for "out of focus" here)
*CLICK!!!!*

These pictures below are obviously not materpieces - ha! :-) They're just examples. You can see how I went more and more out of focus. It just depends on the effect you want.

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My ISO is insanely high here, and I wish I would have used my tripod. It's in the back of my van from a shot I took last night, and it's too cold to go get it! ;-) Brrrrrrr!

Tip: It's important to scoot as far back as you can and then zoom in (for the most bokeh). I used a 24-70mm lens, and my focal length was 54mm. (I didn't plan it that way; that's as far as I could zoom in or I wouldn't have been able to get the whole tree in the shot).

I hope I'm not forgetting anything. Let me know if you have other questions. The Tiny Tornado is tornadoing through the house, and I'm not supposed to be blogging and parenting. Off to be with my lil' gal! :-)

32 comments:

Mandy said...

I sure do love these bokeh shots, I think I say that every time!! But..... I really wanna see your tree.. you know.. in focus! We don't have a real tree this year so I'm getting my Christmas tree fix through blogger! :)

forevernevernalways1 said...

YOU ROCK!!!

Hugs my sweet friend! One day we will spend time together having a blast with all of our litle tornadoes and our cameras! Until then I enjoy spending time with you here!

I tried some of this before you posted - I'll be putting up my first try with our first ever Christmas tree in a bit (on our family blog). Let me know what you think! Thanks Karli for being so helpful!

Hugs!!!!
Jill

kitten said...

i love bokeh shots, i really wish i have an slr to make shots like this one. thanks for sharing!

Ashley said...

Very cool! This is different than how I was doing it, sounds easier to take it manual focus.

SarahinSC said...

Wow! I haven't done it that way before. I'll have to try it!

Amy said...

Lightbulb moment over here... :-D Thanks so much!!!

Skye said...

OK ... I am embarrassed, but have to ask ... What is "Bokeh" mean?? By the way - great tips! Great shots!

Sarah Halstead said...

Very pretty. Thanks! I usually just put my finger in front of the camera and focus on that, then take my finger away. Ha ha!

Ashley Sisk said...

It's super easy...I remember when I first realized how simple it was and I thought to myself DUH!

Lisa said...

I really love how you explain how you get your shots. I plan on trying this one for sure!

SugarberrySensations said...

Awesome, Awesome, Awesomely EASY instructions dear! Wow, I totally 'get' it! I un-der-stand!

Now, can you tell me how to get good shots of a basketball game in a gym?! ;o)

♥Lori

Anna said...

These are super cool--and I LOVE the colored one from yesterday!!

Adeena said...

I *just* came over to the computer to get my camera to give it a go... and you have instructions posted! :D Yay! Off to give it a try.

Tiffany said...

Love it. sometimes manually focusing can be really fun. I usually use auto but it definitely makes for some beautiful bokeh. I used my 35mm at 1.8 but these are great!

cooperl788 said...

Yay! I made a bokeh tree too! Thanks for the quick and easy tutorial. If you can believe it, I'm just venturing out of auto mode and into manual. This week's lesson was on aperture mode, so the bokeh tree was perfect for me to practice with. Thanks friend!

Angela said...

Thank for the info!! I ALWAYS try to make everything too difficult then get irritated when it doesn't work :-) This helps me so much!

Michelle said...

Great job on these! I actually just did some shots like this last night! My hubby drove me around town to take pics of the lights and I much preferred my bokeh only/mostly shots compared to the ones in focus!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

These are SO pretty! I was just playing with some shots like this today!

Klove said...

Does your tree have a zillion lights? My lights don't overlap quite as much. And when I zoom in, the aperture reduces to 4.7...am I missing something?

Audrey @ TheDailyWyatt.blogspot.com said...

I agree with Mandy I want a IN focus shot of the tree... your always so mysterious... I think you do that on purpose so we come back... tisk tisk tisk. one day we WILL know everything HAHAHAHHAHAAAA thats my evil laugh were you scared? Wyatt was, oh wait he is in bed and I am up its 1 in the morning I think I need to go to bed... nightie night. ;) (ps thanks for the sweet comments.)

elizabeth said...

thanks sharing how -
will have to try this when I am home alone and all is quiet - and I can "play" -

Katie said...

It finally happened - you beat me with the 'same shot' post! I'm writing up a post with various sized tree bokeh shots - like right now. And I hopped over here to grab your tree-through-a-lens link and saw this! :) It's about time the tables were reversed, eh?! LOL!

Lindsey said...

Yep, you pretty much displayed some sheer awesomeness again with your photography skills. How cool is that?

So Karli, are you ready for Christmas? I am so ready and ready for Christmas break coming up next week WHOOT!

I hope you and your family has a WONDERFUL and BLESSED Christmas and New Year! ((HUGS))

blog
http://www.peacefulislandmother.yolasite.com

Tricia said...

I came over from Angela's blog Just Me... Photography & WoW! I'm so glad I did... really cool effect! Thanks =)

Buckeroomama said...

You are starting a craze, Karli! Every other blog I visit is doing a Christmas tree bokeh and they got inspired by what you did. =)

Thanks for sharing the step-by-step... although I will have to get back to them later once I've learned more about the dials and buttons in my new DSLR (yes!)

nanny said...

I can't wait to get home and setup the tripod....I love your shots...
Thanks for the instructions!

Chelsey - The Paper Mama said...

Oh man! Just as I was about to write a comment... Mike made Ruari laugh REALLY loud and scream high pitch! It totally distracted me and I forgot what I was going to say. I love the bokeh though. :D

Lexi said...

These bokeh shots are so pretty! I love bokeh, with its random spots and burst of soft color!

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog! I love looking at your pictures. =)

Blessings,
Lexi

Tricia said...

I've been practicing this (or trying to) since I left my last comment & until just a couple minutes ago couldn't figure out the 2.8 on MF, but I finally got it! YaY! =)
My house isn't that big so I wasn't able to back up that far... I'm in my kitchen in front of the frige taking pics of half my Christmas tree in the living room! heheheee =)

Thanks so much for this lesson... I've always wondered how they got that effect & meant to get it!!!

Reading Allowed said...

Thank you so much for the step-by-step, I just tried this today and I love the results!

Jan n Jer said...

Hello..my first time here...I love Bokeh shots...thanks for the simple instructions...I will be having fun trying it out!

A Z R O ॐ W I said...

Thank you for this! so easy to understand unlike a lot of other tutorials!

azroswi.blogspot.com