Soft Filter Testing

Recently a friend of mine talked about shooting some video with a soft filter, he used a pair of pantyhose which he was able to grab from the set ( I guess that is a perk of shooting lingerie models …).. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try using a soft filter myself to see what the effect would be.

First off in case you don’t know what soft focus is or what the goal of a soft focus is the three images bellow (curiosity of photo.net user: Doug Raddatz) the following images show the effect of soft focus.  From left to right you start with nothing on the lens adding one layer of nylon stocking for each subsequent photo.  Its a great effect of you are going of that soft angel like appearance.

No Soft Focus1 Layers of Soft Focus2 Layers of Soft Focus

 

There are several ways to achieve a soft focus; so far in this article I have talked about using nylons to do so.  This is a great way to do so, offers multiple colors and is rather cheap.   If you want to go the more “professional” route you can always buy a soft focus filter that attaches to your lens, however this could cost you a good chunk of change if you don’t plan on using it often.  My idea for another alternative route is to use Vaseline on your lens.  The advantage to using Vaseline is you can control the amount of soft focus that you get depending on how thick  you apply, and if you chose you could use it as a selective focus leaving sections of the lens clear.  Now I would never recommend applying this directly to your lens in case there ends up being some sort of adverse effect to your lens.  I always recommend keeping a UV filter or some sort of protective cover to your lens while you are shooting.

For a control shot I decided I grabbed a shot without anything, just so I could see exactly how it looks without any changes.

I applied a layer of Vaseline, thicker on the edges, and then left a small patch that was unaffected on my lens. The challenge was finding the right spot to leave blank, you have to factor in the cropping that takes place from the lens to the sensor. You can tell I didn’t do that great of a job turning this into a selective effect, but I still think this works well.

I wanted to show how this could work when using with an actual person.

Downloads of the files are available if you so choose to take a look yourself!
 

Person Using Soft Focus Filter (341)

 

Plants With Filter (318)

 

Plants with No Filter (333)

 

Red Trees (327)

 

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