• Nicola Yardy

How to Make and Shoot a Bokehlicious Tin Foil Backdrop

I love bokeh and wanted to incorporate it into some upcoming holiday themed beauty shoots. Well, I didn't want to shoot in the cold and I really didn't want to buy strings of lights (or generally spend any money at all) so I put together this great backdrop with basically just tinfoil. I was really happy with how it turned out so, I decided write this little tutorial on how to make and shoot a tinfoil backdrop for some bokehlicious shots.

What I used for this project:


- Foam core/Cardboard

- Lighting stands

- Fast Lens (lenses with small apertures)

- Clip Mount

- Speed lights

- 5d Mark iii

- Ring Light/ Soft box

I lightly scrunched up tin foil then unraveled it, then I used double sided tape to stick it to a 32x40 foam core board. I used a lighting stand with a clip mount to hold the foam core in the perfect height for the backdrop. Make sure you have your aperture set wide open in order to make the tinfoil out of focus, but don’t open it too wide or your bokeh will look too large and blend together. Below are some test photos with my dog Macro using only window light.

I had a fellow photo friend come sit for me to help practice some lighting setups for a beauty shoot I would be photographing later that week. I decided I wanted to play with my speed lights, so I lit him with a ring-light/soft box (that I got from Wish for only about $20 and lit the tinfoil backdrop with a second bare speed light.

Light set-up diagram

My settings for these photos were f2.8 1/100 ISO 400 with my 85mm lens. I had two speed lights, One aimed at the backdrop behind the subject set at 1/128 power, the other was attached to the ring light facing Joe. I also thought it would be fun to use gels to add a pop of colour.

Tadaa! My final image after editing, perfect for Mums holiday gift.

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