Holiday Bokeh!

By Kate Riley December 25, 2011

Hello everyone and a very Merry Christmas to you!  Santa came a few days early for me bringing a new lens (Nikon 50 mm 1.8, thanks Santa!) and just in time to capture some holiday bokeh.  I’ve never been able to photograph those beautiful orbs that come from twinkle lights in the background until this week, so I’m very excited! 

holiday bokeh twinkle lights


All of the images below were taken with the subject about 8 to 10 feet away from the twinkle lights with the lens mentioned above. I opened up the aperture as wide as it could go in the afternoon and evening and slightly less in the morning due to the brighter daylight, resulting in some pretty bokeh shots!  Camera settings below.


reindeer snow globe bokeh

F-stop: 2.8       Shutter Speed: 1/160      ISO: 800



christmas tree bokeh centsational girl

F-Stop: 1.8     Shutter Speed 1/25      ISO 800



nighttime bokeh silver bulbs

F-stop  1.8    Shutter Speed 1/15      ISO 1600  


So so pretty, I love me some twinkle light bokeh!!!

Here are three more sources for tips on taking great holiday bokeh shots before your tree comes down:

I Heart Faces

My Three Boybarians

Kevin and Amanda


Wishing all of you the best day filled with all the merriment and magic of Christmas! 


kate signature image





  1. The 50 mm 1.8 is my favorite. I’m sure you’re having so much fun. I had a blast shooting in front of my tree and am going to miss the bokeh lights :( You have a good Santa to bring it early so you could play! Merry Christmas!

  2. I got the SAME lens, the Nikon 50mm 1.8G…. and have no idea what I’m doing! :) Fortunately, I also received gift certificates for lessons. Looking SO forward to learning and being able to take shots like yours. Merry Christmas!!

  3. Hi Kate, These photos are gorgeous. New Year’s resolution: improve my photography skills! Just wanted to thank you for all the great inspiration this year. I love coming to your blog to see what you’ve got going on, there is always something to take away from each post. I hope you have a great New Year! Carol

  4. The first photo is ♥ and so as the other three. I hope you don’t mind me asking what font you used for the first photo. :)

  5. Thats a wonderful lens you got there. You must have been a good girl this year!

    Great captures of the bokeh…such loveliness!

  6. Well, bokeh was a new term for me so I had wikipedia it. Yea! I love when I learn something new. Tomorrow I am going to experiment with my camera and see if I can get some of the same results! Thanks for sharing and teaching!

  7. Looks like Santa knew the item to get this for us all year, I got the same lens too! Took some good bokeh with the tree and can’t wait to see what it can do at a low light party with decor.

  8. You convinced me, I bought one tonight. The camera store said it was a popular lense today, they sold several. I think you may have convinced several others too. I would love to see what else you do with it. Thanks!

  9. This was my Christmas present, too! And I loved it for the 2 days I used it. Then I traveled to my parents’ house on the 29th and forgot my camera. Bah!

  10. Thank you!! I have a Nikon D7000, and I’m trying so hard to learn how to use it… I also have the above lens. Will try it out!

    My sis turned me on to yr blog after making me a Christmas gift using one of your ideas – the framed fabric and wire mesh earring holds. Love!

    All this is right up my ally. I have 4 kids 8 and younger and. Job thoug, so…. Some of it might have to wait a whole. :)

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