How to Create a Beautiful Bokeh Background for Your Videos without Breaking the Bank

Creating a beautiful background for your shots shouldn’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. You can easily create this effect by using only one light and a piece of aluminium foil instead of hiring an entire lighting department or any other gear. Just take your favourite mirrorless camera or DSLR, pick a large aperture lens and place your subject in the foreground.

Photographer Andrey Mikhaylov from Andrey Mikhaylov Photography will show us how to do the rest of the trick. Remember that you can use this technique not only when you’re shooting interiors with artificial light sources in controlled environment, but you can also utilize ambient or natural light when you’re out in the wild. Either way, this technique should work like a charm.

How to Photograph Products With Great Background Using One Light. Part One from Andrey Mikhaylov on Vimeo.

First, get your aluminium foil and crumple it slightly. Then tape it to the wall or any other flat surface placed behind your subject. Keep in mind that the distance between your subject and the background is as important as the distance between the camera and the subject itself.

Depending on the focal length of your lens you should place the latter accordingly – five to seven feet away from the background should be a great starting point. You can tweak your setup from there. Point your light source towards the aluminium foil.

Use colour gels if you want to change the colour of the bokeh in the background.


If you place your camera near to the ground you can achieve even better results if you use some sort of glossy surface for slicker and more polished looking video. Shoot white open and modify the size of the bokeh effect by altering the aperture setting.

Make sure that your lens can be opened up to at least f/2.8. Using long lenses in the 50 to 80mm range should provide the optimal results. Depending on the camera system you are using there is a variety of options at your disposal, so finding the right lens shouldn’t be an issue.


Further, when shooting outdoors, you can experiment with reflections of the sunlight by placing your subject near a swimming pool, for instance. Keep in mind, though, that you have to use ND filter to block the light, thus getting the optimal exposure while shooting wide open.

As a rule of thumb, try to follow the light to wield the most dramatic results – streetlights, sun reflecting on the water, and any other bright sources of light will work to help create some outstanding bokeh for your images.

And, what a better moment to experiment with this technique than the weekend. Just take your camera, go out and be creative! Happy shooting!

[via: PictureCorrect, source: Andrey Mikhaylov]

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