Create Your Own Heart-Shaped Aperture

I came home yesterday to Anna crouching on the floor with camera and a piece of cardboard in hand, taking photos of a bunch of mini-lights. Once I finally figured out what kind of effect she was playing with I got really excited. You can buy creative aperture kits (also called “bokeh”) that will help you achieve the “scattered star” kind of effect, but you can also make your own with some scissors and cardboard. The product of our little photo shoot were some fun photos of Olivia. We will definitely play around with this more, but we wanted to show you how you can make your own creative aperture!

Step 1: Cardboard, scissors and light.

Grab some small pieces of cardboard, and cut a shape out of the middle. We played with a single heart, double heart, star and squares. Start with smaller shapes and work your way up. We also tried cutting 3 hearts out in a row, but found that that made it look kinda muddled.

We set up some mini-lights which gave a good starry effect. Play also want to play around with daylight, city lights at night etc.

Step 2: Fire away.

Put your F-stop way down (aperture all the way open), hold the cardboard up in front of the lens and, as they say in hunting, shoot through the heart (or whatever shape you made:)! Play around with the exposure and focus. When your light source is out of focus you’ll create the desired starry effect. Cool huh???

Step 3: Adding a prop.

Putting Olivia into the picture made things a little more complicated (especially considering she wasn’t in the best in best of moods, but that’s another story…). I held her somewhere midway between the lights and the camera. With the shallow depth of field of our 50mm lens at f/1.8 we could easily get Olivia’s face in focus, keeping the lights blurry in the background. We did have to add some extra lighting to to light up her face a bit for these photos.

And that’s about it! No Photoshop required! Give it a try and let us know what you come up with. Or if you’ve already played around with this before, link us up!

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