Bokeh Dots!

We are getting material ready for another Kindle book we will be writing soon.  This book will be about DIY Senior Picture Projects!  We plan to have a series of projects to walk you through taking your own senior pictures.  This is will include all of the setup and layout involved in taking the picture, including a diagram of the shot and what equipment is needed to recreate it. It will be a step by step guide to show you how to get the shot.

We will be testing out a couple of projects over the next few months and posting them here for your review.  I would love to hear about what projects you would like to see.  Please, leave a comment and let us know, or contact us directly.


Today our project is about creating bokeh dots!  Not polka dots, but blurry little orbs of light in your background that I like to call bokeh dots.  I believe I am the first to claim this term and trademark it here on!  🙂

If you take a piBokeh Dots!cture of lights that are out of focus, you will create these little soap bubble orbs of light that we call bokeh dots.  These look really cool in the background of a photo.  In order to create bokeh dots, you need to take the follow steps:


  1. Get a set of string lights
  2. Find a way to suspend your string lights in the background
  3. Put some distance between your senior and the lights
  4. Focus on your senior and leave the lights out of focus and snap your picture


Let’s break these down.   First, I purchased some lights at an after Christmas sale knowing I was going to do this project eventually.  I purchased some multi-color LED lights for a couple of dollars, but any kind of string lights will do.

Second, find a way to suspend your string lights in the back ground.  I used a stand for a curtain wall made out of PVC.  You can use anything, it really does not matter.  The darker the color the better.  This way it does not show up in the picture like mine did.   I hung my lights on this to one side so they would be visible to the left of our model.

Third, this is one of the most important steps.  You need to get the lights out of focus so they will appear like soap bubbles. You will need the widest aperture setting on your camera.  You will need at least f2.8 or wider.  I set my old manual Nikon lens to f1.8.  Remember the lower the number the wider the aperture.  You will also need some distance between your senior and your lights to make sure they are out of focus.  How much distance depends on how wide your lens can go.   If you have a really wide aperture lens, you will not need as much distance.

Bokeh-Dots-2-DSC_0716Lastly, wait until the sun is going down and setup your shot.  Take some test shots of your lights to see at what distance they start to appear like bokeh dots.  You will then know at about where you need your senior to stand.  If necessary, add a little light to your senior’s face with a flashlight or led light and snap your picture.

If you end up adding light to your senior’s face, make sure it is not too bright or you will “ghost” them out.  I am not going to lie, this is still a work in progress, we had to do a little editing to get the balance in this photo.

We are continuing to improve this and will have it perfected by the time the book comes out.  What projects would you like to see?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  Have a friend or family member that would be interested in DIY Senior pictures?  Please share us on your favorite social media platform!

Thanks for being a part of DIY Senior Pictures.  Need more immediate help?  Need a step by step process?  Check out our latest Kindle books.  Why not check out our bonus video section too?  Leave a comment and let's discuss your photo concerns.  Talk to you soon.

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