Beautiful, soft, and layered bokeh makes for a magical backdrop. The problem is, unless you are photographing a person in front of a Christmas tree, you may not get the look you want. However you can still create this effect in post-processing, and all it takes is a few bokeh photographs and a good starting image. With the proper setup you can take a simple photograph (left) and transform it into a gorgeous sparkling scene (right):


Tips for a good image (main subject) for applying bokeh:

  • Use a long telephoto lens and a wide aperture (such as ƒ/4, ƒ/2.8, or wider)
  • Blur the background with a simple, plain backdrop (a one-color backdrop is ideal; you also don’t want to be able to make out much detail in the background)
  • Make sure that the main subject is far enough from the backdrop to compress the background and make it blurry

Tips for creating a bokeh background image:

  • Use holiday lights and string them up against a simple backdrop
  • Use a long telephoto lens and a wide aperture (such as ƒ/2.8 or wider)
  • Or, download my Nicolesy Bokeh Overlay pack with 200 photographic bokeh images to use in your own photos

Tutorial — Adding Bokeh using Photoshop:


Download a FREE Bokeh Overlay:

Please use the form below to download a sample bokeh image. This download is FREE to all subscribers of my newsletter:

This download is available free to all subscribers of my newsletter. If you are already subscribed, enter your subscriber information below and the download will begin automatically. If you are a new subscriber, please enter your info and look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

Don’t see the form? Please click here instead.

If you are already subscribed, you can access your download immediately after filling out the form.


Bokeh Overlays

Set of 200 High-Resolution Photographic Overlays

Add a magical, realistic, and soft background effect to your images with this set of 200 bokeh images. These are real photographs of bokeh (not created digitally), and work well with portraits, still-life, and any image with a soft and out-of-focus background.

Click here to learn more about this overlay pack.