Day 339 – Bokeh again or maybe Fairy Lights!

Bokeh again… I know but Christmas time is the perfect time to experiment and this time I was at the Old Bakery Studio doing still life set up… and I had a couple of ideas I wanted to try.

The first was to capture a Christmas scene – I had seen a gingerbread man on sale recently for our local hospice and thought it would be great to capture it in a festive photo. My idea was to use fairy lights as the background, set the scene and use a speedlite to lighten it.

Below you can see the scene, and one of the other photographers setting up to take his picture.

The setup
The setup

This is mine – straigt out of camera … I noticed the label afterwards and the line down the milk bottle so used photoshop to tidy it up. My settings were ISO100, F6.3, 1/125sec – I needed to a wider aperture to make sure the lights were out of focus.

Straight out of camera
Straight out of camera

I had a little edited, removed the marks, added a message to Santa on the chopping board and burned the images – I actually think it makes a great Christmas Greeting, and I am going to share a copy with the local hospice.

Edited Santa Note
Edited Santa Note

I also wanted to try bringing the fairy lights closer and shooting through them. I used a stand I had to hang the lights like a curtain.

Bokeh again - bu closer to the camera
Bokeh again – but closer to the camera

When I moved the camera even closer to the lights I could get even bigger bokeh … I have some ambient light coming into this image and you can just make out the festive background beyond. I have not used printed backgrounds before … and I think I am going to look out for some of them….

Large Bokeh!
Large Bokeh!

I changed my focus – I wanted the lights in the foreground to be blurred and the background and added some flash inbetween … you can see the background better here…. I then wanted to add a model and one of the other photographers kindly agreed to help!

Bokeh and a backgroud paper - shallow depth of field - not focused
Bokeh and a background paper – shallow depth of field – not focused

Karen kindly put on the elf hat and and stood half way between the lights and the background, with a flash spot directed to her to look like a shaft of light … it was a challenge to line everything up, so that the lights were not across her face and the flash was giving just enough light!

Adding a model
Adding a model

This is a great example of a model knowing how to pose – I am hopeless at it … but side on looking at the camera makes a great profile, thanks Karen and the letterbox crops draws you into her eyes.

Through the lights
Through the lights

So to get the final image that I was happy with I took it into Photoshop, added the large bokeh as well, and reduced the saturation in the oranges just a little.

Ading some photoshop
Adding some photoshop

I am really pleased with the result.. amazing what you can achieve with fairy lights and space to move around.

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