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© Nestor Bandrivskyy

Bokeh. It's the unofficial festive photography form, and it's also the theme for this month's Photocrowd assignment contest, Let it glow! For those who want to find out more about this beautiful and glowing photographic genre, we've assembled 7 useful resources from around the web to help you on your way to great Bokeh. Read on for videos and links.

1. Photoextremist's 'Bokeh Photography Tutorial' (video)

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Evan Sharboneau from PhotoExtremist.com and YouTube photography guide stardom talks us through two different ways to carry out a fundamental Bokeh shoot, welcoming us into his home in the process. His first method uses a very long (200mm) lens with a distant background of Christmas lights; the second uses a 50mm lens that gets close-up to the subject (in this case a jar of nuts - very festive!). This video tutorial serves as a great introduction to the art of Bokeh photography.

© Ziggy P

2. 'Creating artificial Bokeh in your own home by Marie Sturges

Marie Sturges blogs on photography.tutsplus.com, covering much of what Evan spoke about in his video, but with some additional tips and inspiration sources, particularly around the theme of Christmas and home photography.

3. 'Bokeh on a budget - kit lens demo' by Matt Granger (video)

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Self-proclaimed 'That Nikon Guy' and another star of YouTube, Matt Granger takes us on a journey through four different bokeh tips using simple kit lenses and with a larger F number and variable aperture lenses. He concentrates on taking outdoor Bokeh in a park during daylight hours, reminding us that there is plenty of life for Bokeh outside of Christmas!

© Signefotar

4. PicStick's 'How To Hand Make Bokeh Effect Shapes For Your Christmas Photo Magnets' + Lucas Ridley video

Back to December's biggest event (it didn't take long), and here PicStick gives some good tips on how to experiment with the shapes of your Bokeh lights. It's simple really - create a cardboard template to sit on your camera lens, be it a star, a heart, a smiley face or any other shape you want. Continue the shoot as you would normally and your end results will be blurry background lights in the shape of your custom design.

Below we have also included a video clip from Lucas Ridley which further demonstrates this technique.

5. 'Understanding Bokeh: The art and science behind the beauty of blur (part 1)' by Paul Harcourt Davis

Renowned macro photographer Paul Harcourt Davis's first of a two part blog series on www.imaging-resource.com takes a close look at the culture and technical elements to Bokeh photography. It features some fascinating facts on the history of the art form, plus some beautiful examples shot by himself and others.

6. 'Understanding Bokeh: The fine line between sharpness and blur (part 2)' by Paul Harcourt Davis

Paul goes into further detail in Part 2, discussing how we can determine when something goes into - or out of - focus by looking at the relationship between sharpness and blur.

© Richard Leah Photography

7. 'Dazzle Your Photos With These Shining Effects' by Laurie Marie Meyers

Less of a post for the Bokeh purist, but designed for the casual photographer who appreciates the Bokeh effect, Popsugar's Laura Marie Meyers gives us a rundown on some popular Bokeh iPhone apps. If you don't have the expensive kit, but want to add sparkle to your iPhone photos, then these should be fun!

Photocrowd are running a Bokeh assignment contest throughout December, in which we encourage our community to shoot brand new material for their entries. Visit the contest page by clicking here, where you'll find a detailed brief on the assignment task.

© Carola Schwalm

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