Dragon Bokeh for a Headshot?
Recently a client mentioned in an email that he would like a Bokeh effect for his headshot. We planned to do a standard professional headshot on a grey background for his “safe” headshot. But when it came time to plan something for the “creative” option for his headshot, Scott got a little nervous. This client is the Studio Director for a video game company, with an impressively creative work history. Clearly he knows enough about photography to mention Bokeh as a technique. So what can we do that is creative enough to interest him and qualify as a Bokeh headshot?
First, Scott had to explain to me what on earth the Bokeh effect is. It turns out that for a non-photographer, it means that the background is sufficiently out of focus that any bright spots of light show up as circles. But only because the lens is circular. Scott casually mentioned that some photographers use heart-shaped filters to create hearts behind wedding clients.
So it could be any shape?
And we were off and running, creating a filter based on the silhouette of one of his company’s first game characters, a cute little dragon. It took a little fine-tuning, but we were ready for his session!
Then we met Chad, and found out that his comment about Bokeh was a joke based on the popularity of a digital filter for photos. All our carefully laid plans, based on a joke. But he was game to give it a try. Pretty soon we had a bunch of images with ghostly dragons (or maybe fairies) flying around his head.
I found it interesting that only the dragons near the center of the image were complete. The ones farther out looked clipped by the edge of the lens. But mostly I found it remarkable that with all but the center of the camera lens covered by our home-made filter, Chad’s face looked perfectly normal. I (sort of) get the physics of light enough to understand, but intuitively I think he ought to have a dragon-shaped cut out around his head.
In the end he thought the “safe” image would be great for some of his business needs, but the creative Bokeh headshot would be more fun for some of his more artistic situations.