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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Tip: Soft Focus Filter

This is one of my favorite cheats or photography hacks!

A Filter, is something an item that attaches to your camera lens and typically changes something. We have talked about using a UV filter to protect your lens... and I STRONGLY believe everyone should have one on every lens they own. It's clear and it doesn't effect your photos - but it provides awesome protection against dust, scratches and falls for your lens at a very reasonable price.

I am not a filter nut, however I get a TON of use out of my Polarized Filter, which is like sunglasses for your camera. It reduces the reflective light and adds contrast to your images. It's super awesome for darkening skies and removing reflections in glass, and water... I use mine ALL the time!

But, one of my favorites is the soft focus filter... This was probably used a little too much in the 80's and 90's portraits... and it was the spring board for the "center focus" filters which blurred out all but the face in the middle of the portrait.  However, I find that this "hack" of one of the most popular filters for portrait photography... is not only convenient and practical... but looks AWESOME!

All you need is a Rubber Band... and Tulle.

Simply use the rubber band to hold the tulle tightly to the front of your lens No wrinkles. Be sure to hold the extra down away from your flash and so it doesn't go back into the field of view. I use white when I am shooting on a light background or outside, black tulle when I am on dark backgrounds.

This creates a sort of diffusion, or soft focus filter effect. As you can see by my fab model below... 

No Filter
Stinking kid wouldn't take a bath, so you have to forgive the creepy model. 
However, you can see there is a lot of shine on the hair and face... and you can see a lot of whispy frizz in the hair. On a regular person you would see all the uneven skin tone, even blemishes and all the wrinkles. 
1 Layer of Tulle

With this simple step while shooting you see the shine and wispy hairs are reduced... on humans you would see some evening of the skin tone, less reflections from shiny skin... even smother appearing wrinkles and blemishes. 

Is it removing them.. no. But without spending time in Photoshop, it is giving you a solid option to add a natural, softer look to your portraits.. for virtually free. The best part about this... is it is easy to carry, tucks into a pocket...and unlike my filters it doesn't mind going through the wash when I forget to take it out of those pockets! 

Happy Shooting!

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