Playing with Bokeh
What's Bokeh? It's the name they give for the shapes that form in the blurred background of a photograph - usually circles. I've seen a few tutorials on how to create custom shapes, so I tried my hand at it. All you need is some black (or in my case brown) cardstock, some tape and an exacto knife or punch.
First start by cutting a strip of cardstock and tape around your lens. It's best to use your fastest lens. I used a 50 mm f1.8 lens. Then slip the tube of paper off and use to trace a circle. I cut a square (or circle) out of the center of it and then taped it to the tub. This will slip right on and off the end of your lens. Make the shapes as large as you can if you want to set a subject in front of the lights so the cardstock doesn't create a mask around the edge of the frame.
Then you can punch or cut out your shapes and tape them over the opening of your custom lens hood. If you are taking photos of your tree or other lights with no subject then use manual focus.
Here's the butterfly
and the snowflake.
My model would not sit very still so these are the best I could get of a subject!
It's best to have your subject at least 8 feet away from your lights.
Here, she wasn't far enough away so the stars are smaller.