The Story Behind the Photo: Bokeh

As soon as I saw the wall of Christmas lights at my neighbor’s house, I knew I had to take a photo of Sophia with the lights in the background. I envisioned bokeh which I achieved here. Bokeh is defined as out of focus or blurred points of light.

I don’t know what time the neighbor turns on these lights but I was hoping before complete darkness so I did not have to use flash. I took a nap this afternoon and woke up later than expected. It was dark and had no choice but to use the speedlight. I manually set the exposure of the camera at home by estimating the settings based on the aperture (opening of the lens) I wanted to use. I knew had to use a wide opening to achieve Bokeh. I attached the speed light to the camera and the Gary Fong lightsphere to the speedlight.

I took several test images to see if I got the bokeh I wanted. I had to move Sophia away from the wall to get large bokeh. I had some light from a streetlight that lit her face a bit. It was coming from camera left therefore some shadowing on the left side of her neck. I didn’t want to use strong flash so it won’t look flashy. Sorry, technical stuff so I won’t discuss further.

Overall, I am happy with the way it turned out. The lights and bokeh are so festive. I am still going to repeat this exercise when we are not in a rush (Sophia has to study for exams). I will implement the following changes:

  • Bring a stool for Sophia to stand on. This way the lights will cover the entire background when she is elevated
  • Practice more with the speed light and balance the available light to eliminate the distracting shadows on her face
  • Comb her hair and tie her hair back
  • Choose a red outfit for her for a more Christmas feel



Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *