How to make your own bokeh. Keyhole bokeh.

Much has been written about how to make your own hips... I wanted to do something extraordinary for myself. This is not so difficult - we take one high-aperture lens (at least with an aperture F 2.8), and we do our terrible deeds.

I got a lens under my arm Nikkor F1.8 50mm - standard high-aperture lens “fifty kopecks”. The lens attracts with its price and good image performance, but requires a focus motor in a Nikon camera. Other manufacturers also offer lenses like 50mm F1.8, which are not very expensive and give acceptable image quality.

Keyhole bokeh for Nikkor F1.8 50mm

So, the essence of the task of creating hips consists in making the aperture with the contour you want. For this, instead of changing the diaphragm itself, you can do "external aperture"- that is, close the outer lens in any way possible.

I thought for a long time to make it so unusual, as a result I found a hole for the door lock.

To do this:

  1. Find a suitable locking hole according to the diameter of your lens
  2. Pin it to the lens and take it off.
Keyhole bokeh

External aperture for the lens

Of course, instead of such an intricate trick, you can cover the lens in any other way - cut out any cardboard bokeh patternyou want to use. Very often it hearts. The internet is teeming with these hearts for hips, that's why I have instead hearts - keyhole. The keyhole had to be made black with a marker, as shown in the figure.

Keyhole bokeh

Nikon 50mm F1.8D with installed external aperture.

Now how to use it all? It will seem that the photo can turn out like a stencil - that is, you expect to see a hole in the photo - but it is not. Because of the elementary laws of optics, you get a full-fledged picture (if you do not believe it, make a hole in the leaf and look through it — you won’t see the sheet itself — you just see the whole space behind the sheet. In the same way, the camera’s lens will see everything despite barrier).

Here is what happened at the end:

How to make your own bokeh

View of the final version of the upgraded lens

How now to shoot with this miracle of technology? Very simple - place your subject in front of light sources, set the aperture itself larger (I set the maximum F1.8) and press the shutter button. After a dozen frames, you will master the technique to achieve maximum hips. Just keep in mind that time exposure will increase, as less light will pass through the “hole” for your bokeh than through the standard front lens lick.

Unit testing gave the following results:

Bokeh test

Bokeh - test

We see that in the background the bokeh looks like a well, as it was intended

Bokeh Test 2

Bokeh - test 2

Crop background.

own bokeh

own bokeh

The last photo is not a crop, ISO 6400 (sorry for the noise), F1.8 50mm, albeit with a noise - but got what they wanted, the rear lights of the car turned into two nice patterns.


You can easily create any pattern to convert round discs in the blur zone to any shape.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

Add a comment:



Comments: 40, on the topic: How to make your own bokeh. Keyhole bokeh

  • D_Sky

    Great, impressive, but I haven’t understood the point for the photo yet, I haven’t seen it…. except just "cool")

    • Jura ^ _ ^

      A creative idea !? Ah remіsniki-remіsniki .. All the same field for efektiv at ktsіnematografі

    • Yura

      A creative idea !? Ah remіsniki-remіsniki .. All the same field for efektiv y kіnematografі

  • Ark, you are a genius!

  • DSLR videographer

    People are investing millions of money and man-hours into making a movie so that someone watching it for the tenth time will say: “Nifiga! For the first time in so many years I noticed this feature! What a great cameraman after all! ” And this bokeh is a good thing. Thank you and take note.

  • [...] up to 3 meters - you will get exactly the same "excellent bokeh" about which there are so many [...]

  • [...] and the common people hate him for poor picture quality, bokeh, plasticity ... but today I will show on Radozhiv and [...]

  • Well, in general, from any business card you can quickly rivet.
    Or a ready-made kit to buy for the lazy.

  • Well, the bokeh is no longer like a keyhole, but a cork from champagne;)

  • Ramona

    and with aperture of 3,5 this will happen?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, it will.

      • Ramona

        it turns out that black is visible, and the photo seems to be framed .. ((

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Most likely you have a whale or other lens with a small relative aperture.

          • Ramona

            sorry ((((whale ...

  • Ramona

    it turns out that black is visible, and the photo seems to be framed .. (((

  • Arkady, tell me, why paint in black, is it functional or for beauty?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You guessed it - it's for beauty. Usually these things are made of cardboard.

  • Hope

    Great thing, I just did not understand how to stick it to the lens?
    It is also important that there is a snug fit of this miracle cap to the lens.
    The article talked about ready-made sets - I searched the entire Internet, I can't find it,
    Can someone tell me ?! plz! :)

  • Hope

    I correctly understood that the whale does not work?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      not work

      • Natalia

        Does it make sense to try on a 55-200 mm lens?


    I learned about it just a few days ago. printed several templates on the printer. here the main thing is to carefully cut the hole. and the usual 50 / 1.8 turns into a psychedelic lens. from the shape I liked a 45-degree square with concave sides in the center. I will definitely post pictures on my website as soon as my hands reach. the background is good. and became interested in the topic when I saw a square bokeh in the film. Interestingly, Imax cameras have lenses. with what aperture are. I've seen pentahedrons. square - for ordinary ones.

  • Flying_fox

    Hello. Cool idea with an iron freeze well =) And by the way, by the way, two holes near the well do not make the bokeh effect ... they should do the same too) ... Can you ask another question on the Nikon D4, too? it’s not like a whale, but only a half-4-dimensional frame is also ... the aperture is less than 4mm by 3100 not exposed (... I never have half-bokeh in the form of a guitar, yes? = \

    • Arkady Shapoval


      • Flying_fox

        atstoy ...

        • anonym

          shkolota uneducated

  • Ivan

    Good evening. Went a much different way. Instead of one formatted hole with a pronounced pattern. I did a certain number of even holes at an even distance (well, I tried to make it even). In this way, I tried to achieve a mosaic pattern of the non-sharpness zone. While the master on the street it got dark and took a test shot indoors. Who is interested in examples:

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Also an interesting option.

  • anonym

    that's why I have a keyhole instead of hearts :): =

  • Ksu

    If you have whale (standard) optics, for example, say Canon 18-55, then to visually obtain such an effect you need:

    1) switch to manual focus mode (lever to position MF)

    2) turn the focus ring to the minimum value

    3) rotate the zoom ring (increase) to the maximum value (for example 55mm)

    4) set the aperture value to the minimum (for example f / 3.5)

    5) take pictures of bright lights located far from the camera, (for example, streetlights)

    As a result, a photo with a round bokeh will appear, if you now substitute the cut out heart to the lens, there will be hearts instead of circles.

  • Kiba

    "Last photo is not crop, ISO 6400 (sorry for noise)"
    Very artistic noise, I think if it weren’t there, the photo could simply be deleted. It turned out very beautifully.

    • anonym


  • Vladislav

    “Due to the elementary laws of optics, it will turn out ...” = “it will turn out”
    “The camera lens will see everything in spite of” = “in spite” - adverb

  • anonym


  • Alexey

    without initiative, well, nowhere. fine )))

  • anonym

    Guys tell me where in Ukraine you can buy a set of stencils for patterned bokeh?

    • Anonymous # 2

      Take cardboard, scissors / stationery knife, turn on fantasy and voila.

    • anonym

      On OLX

  • Evgeniy

    Thanks for the joke, Arkady.

Add a comment

Copyright © Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2023

English-version of this article

Versión en español de este artículo