14 April 2013


So as requested, here's a quick tutorial. I have previously done a tutorial on how to create the bokeh effect on the iPhone here. But if you don't wish to click on that link, I'll summarize it in a bit.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional, anything mentioned below is purely based on how I shoot.

1: Settings
My ultimate favourite mode to shoot in will definitely be manual mode + manual focus. However, not gonna lie, when I first started shooting with my DSLR, I stuck to auto mode + auto focus, because that was the easiest/most convenient method (all the settings will be automatically set). It was only shortly after that I started to play around in manual mode + manual focus, and found that it was actually much easier to handle. 

For my 50mm lens:
My go to setting for shooting indoors but by the window (with natural lighting) ISO: 100, F-stop: f/1.8, Exposure time: 1/100sec sometimes 1/80sec.
If I were to shoot indoors/dim places, I will adjust the ISO from 100 to 200-400.

For my 18-135mm lens:
My go to setting for shooting indoors ISO: 200, F-stop: f/3.5 (lowest for my kit lens), Exposure time: 1/60sec.

I hardly use my 18-135mm lens anymore, because the 50mm is so much more handy!


Key things to note:
If your ISO is too high (e.g. over 1800/2000) your picture will end up very noisy/grainy.
If your exposure time is too long (e.g. 1/10 and below) you will need a tripod or very stable hands.


2: Creating the bokeh effect using a DSLR
To create the bokeh effect using a DSLR is probably the best thing ever, so much better than using the iPhone or any auto focus camera. The best place to shoot is somewhere with lots of lights (better if they are of different colours, otherwise just filter it to B/W - that's abstract okay).

Settings needed:
ISO, F-stop and Exposure time just adjust accordingly. Have to be in manual focus.

Step 1: Remove your glasses or contact lens and remember that scene, because that's how it's gonna look like when you manually focus or unfocus. Haha, I kid. By now, you should have figured out what you want to shoot/where the light source is. 

Step 2: Adjust your lens by turning it ever so slightly to the left/right. If you turn it too little it'll look like the picture on the left, if you turn it too much it'll look like the picture on the right. Both actually do look good tho, it's up to your personal preference. I prefer it to be like the one below.

Step 3: Adjust until it's perfect then, S N A P!

3: Creating the bokeh effect using the iPhone camera
For the iPhone 5's camera, I believe it's in auto focus (UGH!!!). I can't remember if the 4s/4 is in auto or manual focus, most likely auto. It's a little harder when shooting with auto focus, because well, it auto focuses.

Step 1: Focus on something beforehand. I would usually focus on the creases on my palm first, before aiming at the object.

Step 2: Quickly, and I mean QUICKLY, aim and snap.

Another alternative would be to use other photography apps. Let's say I use Vscocam, all I need to do is step 1 and shoot, no need for lightning reflexes.


It's a lot on trial and error. If adjusting the exposure time shorter doesn't work, set it longer. If ISO 100 doesn't work, try 200 or 400. If the orbs/bokeh don't look good enough, adjust the lens. I hope all of these have been helpful, if not please feel free to yell at me on ask.fm but I'll throw my flower at your face (ʘ‿ʘ)ノ✿

++ Update:
Sasha (@sashaonacid) and I have recently begun on a project- Project 365. We will be uploading pictures from our daily life here: http://project-365moments.blogspot.com, for the next 365 days! ○

Good luck and stay gold (◡‿◡)ノ✿



  1. Hey, i'm oldtravel girl on instragram; i love your blog and instragram

  2. What about tutorial on bokeh video? Thanks


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