Instructables

Holiday Light Bokeh for iPhone or any Smartphone!

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'Tis the season for holiday lights and fun photos! And what better way to capture all those pretty lights than bokeh photography? In this Instructable, I will show you how to take bokeh photos with your iPhone or smartphone. There are apps that superimpose blurs, spots, and streaks, but our aim is to take authentic and beautifully blurred pictures on the go.

Before we begin, let's talk a little bit about the technique. Bokeh is the visually pleasing quality of an out-of-focus photo.The reason why our phones can't capture blurred lights with its built-in camera is because the lens is set to have a large depth-of-field. It tries to focus in on the entire scene, which is also why camera phones have a harder time focusing on subjects that are close-up. Since we can't narrow the depth-of-field by adjusting the aperture to a larger size (smaller f-stop), we have to bring the focal point to the foreground by some other means. In order to do this, we will need to use a macro lens. 
 

Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for any damage that you may do to your device or yourself.
 
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Step 1: Materials List

Picture of Materials List
Materials:

-Cheap SLR Telephoto Lens
-Fishing Pliers
-Flathead Screwdriver
-Scissors
-Assortment of Precision Screwdrivers
-Locktite Fun-Tak (optional)
-Electrical Tape (optional)
-Phone Case (optional)
ncheriyan10 days ago

hey ! can u tell me which all lens you used for making the telephoto lens? and the arrangement?

please tell me ! my mail id is sayhitonoel123@gmail.com

Hokey is one of my favorite camera effect.
Take a small piece of black construction paper and cut a small hole in a particular shape, e.g., music note, star, crescent moon, and cover the lens with the paper with the shape right over the center of the lens. If done properly, the bokeh effect should take on the shape you cut in the paper, i.e., the circular effect of all the Christmas lights in this picture would be in the shape you cut out. At scrapbook supply stores you can find hole punches in various shapes.
clazman1 year ago
After reading the comments I realize I am really outdated! The digital age is here
DemetriS (author)  clazman1 year ago
Thanks for the commendation. I took a look at your instructable, and I would venture to guess you're a retired machinist like my father. I'll be sure to show him your post. I much prefer carpentry, but I hope to learn the trade from him at some point.
Thanks for the nice reply. No, I'm not a machinist. I am a retired mechanical engineer. Over the years I have worked closely with a number of machinists and respect that trade immensely. Give your father my regards.
clazman1 year ago
Where have I been?????!?!

Now we have a term for a photograph that blurs the the background via the f-stop (for film cameras, that is)?

Still, after my raving 'cause it's dating me, I hereby commend you on this project.
bsteines1 year ago
Seems like anyone interested in this topic might also be interested in these:
http://cheezburger.com/6847687168
http://www.diyphotography.net/diy_create_your_own_bokeh
thaiwest1 year ago
It ought to possible to us Sugru [ http://sugru.com ] to form a lens holder and a 'slip attachment' that would simple slip over the corner of the iPhone or iPad. Then it would only be a matter of creating a case to carry & protect the len(s). Have fun!
Conas1 year ago
very nice, I love bokeh + Christmas lights. I wonder if there is an app that would do this (though it would be digital manipulation, inferior to what you've done). I'll have to go look for an old lens now. Thanks
DemetriS (author)  Conas1 year ago
Thank you for your kind words! Yeah, there are apps available that will either recognize the light in your photo and manipulate it with a special blur or will merely superimpose the spots onto the image.
Messy Desk1 year ago
This is great, thank you! I'm glad my question inspired you to create this instructable! Now I just need to find a broken telephoto lens lol!