Shooting for the bokeh effect was new for me and I tried it for the first time this week. Please use the comments to let me know which photo you like best as well as any tips for improvement.
To get prepared, I read the bokeh blog https://www.photoblog.com/learn/bokeh-effect/ and the related links. I was also inspired by Heike's beautiful Namaste bokeh https://www.photoblog.com/heike/2018/12/18/nmste-namaste/ . First I tried to achieve bokeh with raindrops on the window (it has been raining here everyday) however the effect was subtle and the photo was overexposed.
Next I decided to use a string of lights instead of raindrops. Seriously underestimating how difficult it is to find Christmas lights at this time of year, I looked for many days in several stores to find them, until I remembered IKEA - they have everything :-).
Photo #1 I liked the whiteness of the bokeh so I posted it also so you can see the progression, since it has several flaws, such as the fact that you can identify too much of the background. I couldn't immediately resolve this problem due to the layout of my house and buddha's dimensions. My subject is a stone sculpture of a buddha about 60 cm tall and weighing about 50 kilos. The widest aperture I could achieve with my lens was 3,5. Thus, I couldn't move the subject or background to an optimal distance (my husband wasn't home this week) and still have a natural light source on my model.
Photo #2 It was now about an hour later at dusk and there was very little light coming in through the window. That resolved the background problem, however now his face is rather dark.
I went to bed and decided to try again with the morning light.
Rise and shine my buddha buddy. We are good friends now after spending hours with each other. He's a very patient model.
In photo #3 I find his face is too white compared to the black and gold of the background. What do you think? In daylight the stone has a yellow tone.
In between #2 and #3 I had read up some more about bokeh and applied what I learned. I could compensate for my less than optimal aperture by getting my camera very close to my subject. This wasn't the composition I had originally intended but the bokeh and the background worked out very well.