Make It: 3-D Valentine with Heart Bokeh Background

So, if you're like me and still have a tree and holiday lights up, why not get a head start on a fun valentine?! (Disclaimer: I'm not usually very quick to "undeck the halls," but this year I had a reason to keep them up.  We had one last holiday gathering left to host on Saturday...)

Every year I see many versions of a 3-D Photo Valentine, and this year is no exception. I thought I'd share our version with you today.

What You Need
  • Camera & Wide Aperture Lens
  • Heart-shaped Bokeh Filter/Hood (Buy one from PhotoJojo here or make one here)
  • Background Draped with Mini-Lights (a lighted Christmas tree works well)
  • And, if your subject is a child, grab some flowers, a teddy bear, a doll, or anything to stand in while you check settings and take some practice shots. Save your child's patience for the real thing, trust me:)
  • 4x6 print of Your Favorite shot
  • Small scissors or craft knife
  • Valentine Pencil (or other treat for the finished Valentine)
  • Cutting mat or something to protect your work surface
First, set up for your Heart-shaped Bokeh photos. For a good explanation of Bokeh techniques and equipment, check out this post by Kevin {&} Amanda. (I can't tell you how many times I've referred to this post since my sister-in-law shared it with me years ago!) You will want your background further behind your subject than than the distance between the camera and your subject.  I think what worked for me was having the background 3x further from the subject than the subject was from the camera. (Exact distances will depend on your camera and lighting combination. Hence the advice to experiment without your subject!) Have your child extend his/her arm toward the camera and close his/her hand as if holding the pencil. Make sure their hand is in the photo if you want to add the 3-D effect to your card.

Once you have a shot you love, add "You're All Write Valentine" or a similar message to your photo. I used Photoshop Elements to edit my photo and add titles. When you're done, print a 4x6 print for each Valentine you will be making.

Use a craft knife or small scissors to make cuts above and below your subjects out-stretched hand. Slide pencil through the slits; adjust the length of the cuts as needed.

That's all there is to it! Have fun and share your shots with me on Instagram. Tag them with #LeftonPeninsulaRoad. (If there's interest, I will make some free downloadable 4x6 overlays for this project. Leave a comment or shoot me an email.)

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Getting decent photos for a blog post can be difficult enough.  Add a Kitty that wants to help and...


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