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  1. #11
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    StoneNYC, you say you won't always be using lighting. Assuming you do not mean photographing in complete darkness, pay attention to your background and flare. Generally speaking, a low-key portrait against a black backdrop has less flare and more detail, ie. wrinkles and everything that adds that certain character to a face, hair etc. High-key, against a white background, or with a source of light close to lens axis, will cause fair amount of veiling flare, which softens a portrait a good deal. Try looking at portraits around you, and you should notice this.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
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  2. #12
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    Males and females need different lighting, as well as aged subjects. Many lower price filters will do the same thing as the expensive ones, however, if you have a lot of money to spend, you would tend to buy the best. Best can be defined many different ways. Good Luck.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  3. #13
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    Softening wrinkles with a Schneider Hollywood Black Magic Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    You could try the old trick of using a piece of stretched nylon stockings over the lens. I think it was the common technique for female "portraits" (movie) in the old days. Bogart was portrayed from below, no stockings, probably harsher light and Bergman was portrayed from above, with piece of stockings in front of the lens, probably softer light. I don't know if it is a solution which satisfies you, but cheap it is.

    An expensive alternative is the Minolta Rokkor 85/2.8 Varifocus lens, which has a ring allowing the photographer to set the desired degree of spherical aberration.

    http://www.rokkorfiles.com/85mm%20Page%201.htm (bottom of page)
    Thanks ill try the stocking trick.

    Everyone else. I know it's hard to understand but I won't always have control of the light. The particular circumstance I experienced this was when the client insisted on picking the locations, and one was outside at high noon, no cloud cover etc, just worst light. The other was at her apartment, diffused window light, but the only acceptable background had me facing her on the side with her facing toward the window because the light was very low. I could not be AT the window because the light would be blocked by my body, and the background was the kitchen, so the only pleasant background was the off white wall.

    The point is I'm not really looking for lighting advice, I know how to diffuse and soften light with a light box, I'm looking for extra lens filter diffusion, so if you don't use these kinda of filters, then it doesn't help me evaluate their worth.

    Thanks for the advice this far, not trying to be rude, but I'm asking for advice about softening filters, thanks.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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  4. #14

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    back in the day
    people not only used soft lenses,
    but pancake (base ) makeup
    and the negatives were blended and retouched with lead.
    it is not only the lens ...it is a whole photographic "system"
    and state of mind
    nothing is ever as simple as it seems ....

    you might also try the stocking with a cigarette burn in it
    or a smoked filter, or if you are enlarging, passing crkinly
    tea package cellophane between your lens and paper ..
    or get the lens off of your 1a folder and use it as an ENLARGING lens
    instead of a TAKING lens ...
    Last edited by jnanian; 12-17-2012 at 07:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #15
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Softening wrinkles with a Schneider Hollywood Black Magic Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    back in the day
    people not only used soft lenses,
    but pancake (base ) makeup
    and the negatives were blended and retouched with lead.
    it is not only the lens ...it is a whole photographic "system"
    and state of mind
    nothing is ever as simple as it seems ....

    you might also try the stocking with a cigarette burn in it
    or a smoked filter, or if you are enlarging, passing crkinly
    tea package cellophane between your lens and paper ..
    or get the lens off of your 1a folder and use it as an ENLARGING lens
    instead of a TAKING lens ...
    Thanks, those are pretty interesting ways of doing things, I like the center focus shot with the hole in the stocking.

    I own one of those filters with the hole in the center but honestly have never used it, I always forget.

    I suppose I'm assuming that in the movie industry they don't do a lot of post progressing on TV shows where they soften the faces frame by frame so my thought is this particular filter must be fairly good since its used often.

    I actually have no experience with enlarging at all, I don't optically print, the headshot game is impossible to do that way these days, they want the shoot today and the images tomorrow emailed/dropboxed to them so they can print them themselves for $1 per 8x10 at a reproductions store.

    I have an extra 1a lens, I'd love to put it to good use, but I don't even know what 'taking' means.

    I'm fully ignorant when it comes to optical printing, almost completely ignorant when it comes to LF and only three quarters ignorant when it comes to film processing / development in B&W color neg and transparency. And it's only taken me 18 years of shooting to get here


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

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    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  6. #16
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Ah, it came back to my memory another "dirty" (literally) trick in use in the old times, which consists in dirtying an UV filter with a layer of vaseline. The advantage of this solution is that you can control the amount of diffusion. I suppose for your purposes you could try to spread a very thin layer of vaseline.

    Not the most practical but very cheap, and validated by a long tradition.

    Never tried this personally.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
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  7. #17

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    Another make-shift diffusion technique is to smear vaseline (petroleum) jelly on a plain (skylight or UV) filter. The more jelly you leave on the filter increases diffusion; the less you leave minimizes diffusion. Not putting any in the center will get you that "center spot" look.

    I would like to foot-stomp an inssue raised earlier. SF filters are difficlut to judge by looking through them -- eitehr with the eye ball or with a "SLR". Often they look one way and the result on film is very different. I suppose that could be true also for non-film photography but I wouldn't know much about that.

    I have an entire herd of SF filters. Of them all I use 1 or 2 and hate the rest... for a variety of reasons. The best way to know is to buy and try. The various filter makers show examples in tehir catalogues. That is the next best (and most affordable) way to evaluate. Look at both the Tiffen and B+W filter catalogues.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    Ah, it came back to my memory another "dirty" (literally) trick in use in the old times, which consists in dirtying an UV filter with a layer of vaseline. The advantage of this solution is that you can control the amount of diffusion. I suppose for your purposes you could try to spread a very thin layer of vaseline.

    Not the most practical but very cheap, and validated by a long tradition.

    Never tried this personally.
    Great minds think alike. I was tyoping same as you were typing. I've never tried it myself either. That stuff is goo-ey and yucky to handle.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    Thanks, those are pretty interesting ways of doing things, I like the center focus shot with the hole in the stocking.

    I own one of those filters with the hole in the center but honestly have never used it, I always forget.

    I suppose I'm assuming that in the movie industry they don't do a lot of post progressing on TV shows where they soften the faces frame by frame so my thought is this particular filter must be fairly good since its used often.

    I actually have no experience with enlarging at all, I don't optically print, the headshot game is impossible to do that way these days, they want the shoot today and the images tomorrow emailed/dropboxed to them so they can print them themselves for $1 per 8x10 at a reproductions store.

    I have an extra 1a lens, I'd love to put it to good use, but I don't even know what 'taking' means.

    I'm fully ignorant when it comes to optical printing, almost completely ignorant when it comes to LF and only three quarters ignorant when it comes to film processing / development in B&W color neg and transparency. And it's only taken me 18 years of shooting to get here


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    no worries from me stone

    when i say taking lens, i mean on the camera ( sorry for the lingo ! )

    what camera are you planning to do the soft-shots with ? LF or MF or 35mm ?
    you might use front focus and have your lens not open all the way
    but stopped down a little bit and focus on something infront of your subject
    and use the lens' natural ability to soften your subject. it isn't really that hard ...
    you could also shoot with something obstructing your lens and that can soften your subject too.
    when i say obstructing, i mean like a finger or something physically close to and infront of your lens
    when you expose your film ( or whatever ). try exposing everything with deep DOF but at very slow shutter speeds too
    ( 1/2 S ) long exposures have a way of softening things up too.

    have fun!
    john
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  10. #20

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    Out-of-focus and motion blur as SF lens/filter alternatives... how novel... but it works, I suppose.

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