I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and http://www.workitmom.com/bloggers/workingonmotherhood, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!
Do you want to add a little extra magic to your photos? Do you have five minutes? Hurry and make this quickie DIY bokeh star filter for your DSLR camera before everyone takes their twinkly lights down.
What you’ll need:
- black cardstock
- Xacto knife
- DSLR camera
- wide-aperture lens (I used my cheapo $75 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, aka the “nifty fifty”)
What you’re going to do is make a cardstock lens cap with a cut-out star shape.
To make the round circle for the front of the cap, I found a drinking glass that fit just over the lens and then used that as a tracing tool on my cardstock. For the shape cut-out, I free-handed the design with an Xacto knife (okay, a box cutter because I couldn’t find the Xacto), but if you’re a perfectionist you could also find a shape online, print it out, cut it out, and then use that as a tracing tool, although you might need that extra time for eating cookies, so please trust that “close enough” works for this project just as well.
I thought a star shape would be nice for Christmas and New Year’s photos, but other shapes work too. Triangles, diamonds, snowflakes, holly leaves–whatever you can cut out with your bare hands or stamp out with a craft punch. (Someone please make a filter with a dollar sign and then go shoot the lights in Vegas.)
Here’s how my heart filter turned out:
I love it. (Har-har.)
If you’re really strapped for time, you can just hold your cut-out over your lens and start taking shots, but if you want it to slip over your lens for hands-free use, go ahead and tape your filter to a short tube you made out of cardstock to fit around the outside of your camera lens. Easy!
Okay, ready? Go. I switched my lens from autofocus to manual focus and made sure the automatic flash wouldn’t go off, and from there it’s up to you to experiment until you get the look you want. I trial-and-errored around the house, using different angles, different distances from my subjects, and different focal lengths of my lens. If you’re a pro photographer who really knows how to manipulate the manual settings on your camera, you can probably create some very cool on-purpose effects; for the rest of us, we’ll just fire away and hopefully be pleasantly surprised at what we end up with.
Obviously, small lights work best, but anything twinkly and still (i.e., no candle flames) will do. Just have fun!
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