El Bokeh Wall: Get Beautiful Bokeh using a Foil

In this blog post, I am going to explain how you can create an appealing and striking background using a very pocket-friendly method known as El Bokeh Wall.

But before I start, what exactly is Boheh? For those who are not aware of the term Bokeh, it comes from the Japanese word ‘boke’ which means ‘blur’. Bokeh is the soft out-of-focus background effect which is achieved while clicking a subject using a fast lens (f/2.8 or wider).

What all we need to get started with the El Bokeh Wall technique:

A sheet of aluminium foil

A camera mounted with a fast lens (preferably f/2.8 or faster)

Couple of speedlights or studio lights

Gels (colored sheets)

Step 1:

Roll out the required length of aluminium foil, enough to cover the background of your frame and then crumple it together to make a ball.

Step 2:

Open up the aluminium foil ball and lay it flat making sure you do not remove the crumples. The crumples on the foil will create highlights

Lay the foil flat again without removing the crumples — the crumples will provide the specular highlights which in turn create the magnificent bokeh.

Step 3:

Paste the sheet of aluminium foil on the wall or the background, positioned in such a way that it fits your frame.

Step 4:

Place a speedlight in a positioned between the foil and the subject, so that it evenly lights the sheet of foil. If you wish to get colorful bokeh, you can use a gel or a colored plastic sheet. Place the subject at least 3–4 feets away from the background to get shallow depth of field.

Step 5:

Light the subject using a speed light or a studio light, in this case, i used a studio light as i had only one speedlight.

If you are using two speedlights to light both the background and the subject, you would need a Wireless Flash Trigger and two receivers. While using one

While using one speedlight and one studio light, you would require a Wireless Transmitter to sync the studio light with the camera. But how will the speedlight trigger? Simply put the speedlight on ‘Slave’ mode.

Once you are ready with the steps mentioned above, all you need to do now is place the camera on a tripod and focus on the subject.

Sharing some photos i managed to click using the El Bokeh Wall technique.

Originally published at www.the-photography-blogger.com on January 26, 2016.