Use This Trick to Create Bokeh Balls in Lightroom (VIDEO)

OK, listen up: Todays topic is “bokeh balls” and we don’t want any off-color comments! So what exactly are bokeh balls, and how to they affect your images? Simply put, they are spherical out-of-focus highlights that add interest and impact to all sorts of photos.

Depending upon the subject, camera settings, and the lens in use, it’s possible to capture this eye-catching look in the camera. But in today’s quick tutorial from The Phlog Photography you’ll pick up a simple trick for creating the effect in Lightroom.

In this episode with German landscape photographer Christian Mohrle you’ll learn how to employ a bit of simple masking to achieve a very realistic result. To make the most of this lesson we suggest you download the sample Raw files in the description beneath the video so you can follow along and make the changes yourself.

Mohrle’s goal for his demonstration image is to add bokeh balls to the background while accentuating the effect by cooling off the light. As he explains, this technique works best with specific types of photos; namely, those with an in-focus subject and a “buttery smooth” out-of-focus background.

Mohrle begins with a few basic adjustments to prepare the image for what follows— changing the profile to Adobe Neutral, adjusting White Balance, and modifying the exposure. He also adds Clarity and Dehaze, while bringing up Vibrance.

Next comes masking, with linear and radial gradients over the top left of the shot, and another radial gradient over the mushroom. Now it’s time to introduce the bokeh balls, which he does with multiple radial filters of difference sizes.

All that’s left is some straightforward color grading, and a bit of alignment in Photoshop to perfect the result.

If you like this video there are many more to be found by paying a visit to Mohrle’s popular YouTube channel.

And don’t miss the tutorial we posted earlier, explaining what another pro says is “the one Lightroom skill every nature photographer should know.”