The beautiful photographic effect known as “bokeh” is translated from the Japanese boke, meaning “blur”. This effect, where points of light are blurred to produce orbs of color, is particularly fun to play with during the holidays.
Best achieved using lenses with faster apertures, 2.8 or faster, the shape of the blur will take on the shape of the wide-open aperture, either round or hexagonal, depending on the lens.
Using a longer lens, 200mm or more will achieve an incredibly beautiful bokeh effect, as the foreground and background are compressed, and bokeh more pronounced as the contrast between sharp and out-of-focus is more extreme.
Any lens with a wider aperture can be used. Shoot wide open and focus carefully on the subject, framing with bokeh in background or foreground.
Get out your fastest lens and play around with bokeh! Just remember, wide open lens, sharp focus on background or foreground subject, and using longest zoom possible. Have fun, and Happy Holidays!