Advice on soft filters

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by cliff_henry, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. I want to add some soft focus effects to some of my wedding shoots.
    I tried doing this with my Canon EF 135mm 2.8f SF lens, but I just
    don't like the results as well as shots I have seen from other
    photographers. I am shooting film and don't use PS.

    I have a Cokin "P" holder that I used for landscapes, but not sure
    how useable it would be for weddings. I looked at the selection of
    soft filters available and am totally confused as to which to buy,
    and it's too expensive to buy and try.

    What do you guys and ladies find works best? I know the Zeiss Softar
    is the best but I don't want to invest a $185.00 in a filter.

    An suggestions?

    Thanks

    Cliff
     
  2. Cliff,

    Take a look at this long and instructive discussion on soft filtration right here on this forum:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=007sB3
     
  3. Cliff an inexpensive way to get soft focus is to buy a clear filter and use a bit of hairspray on it. I've had very good luck with this in the past. You will have to try it a few times to get the right amount of spray to settle properly on the filter but it isn't hard. If it doesn't work, wash it off and do it again. I've not been happy with this using zooms though. I've gotten advice on this forum to try the Soft FX filters. When B&H opens up again this week I'll be ordering one.

    Rick H.
     
  4. I also endorse the hair spray idea. The trick is to puff a wiff of it in the air and quickly pass the UV.Sky filter through it to just get a touch of the spray. Don't just gob it on! You will also need to run some fil and see if it is what you want.

    The Tiffen FX Soft filters are the best around, in my poinion. Get a #1 (use all the time for people) and a #3 (for a softer effect) at least...even the #3 is very mild. Anything higher gets close to a "fog" effect, which I don't like, but that may appeal to you. These are fine quality filters and well worth the moderate expense.

    The #3 is the basic all-purpose filter. However, avoid strong backlight with them. They will "halo!"
     
  5. Probably the cheapest answer you'll get but I use it alot. A plastic embroidery hoop with a black stocking stretched tight as you can get it. Or for a softer effect not as tight. And just trim the excess and save for it later use. Costs about 75 cents, doesn't get smudged and doesn't break your heart if it gets lost.
     
  6. I go along with the Tiffen Soft FX filters, but get the #1 and #2. These give you just the right amount without getting up to a heavy type softness. If you want more effect stack the #1`and #2. Sometimes one or the other isn't right for the shot. I find these are much subtler and cleaner. From what you said this is what you want without going really soft. Besides, if you need more than what the filters give, you still have your Soft Focus lens!

    Shoot! $185 for a Softar? For that kind of money you could get all three of the Soft FX!
     
  7. I second the black stocking idea. I tie mine to the front of the lens with a rubber band. :)
    007yMh-17555384.jpg
     
  8. First off, Bless our wives, husbands and significant others for always being so gracious as to suffer through countless requests of, "Honey, can you come here, I need to try something". Mine endures tremendous amounts of photo badgering and still lets me sleep in the house. Now down to business, first shot is no flitration.
    007yjO-17563584.jpg
     
  9. 1 layer of stocking
    007yjQ-17563684.jpg
     
  10. 2 layers of stockings
    007yjU-17563884.jpg
     
  11. tiffen #3 is my choice also. just remeber to use a wide aperture to get better
    results.
     
  12. Man! What a difference!! Pictures are worth a thousand words....
    I knew it and use this technique with older subjects - but I've never seen a before and after... This is a valuable example for people who have never tried filtration or stockings..
     
  13. My answer here is not one of filters but of digital filtration. I am posting a straight image bleow with a digital camera. The next image below that will be of the same image with a digital blur. You can get this effect even if you use film. Just get a CD made from the film image and play with it in Photoshop, or, whatever software you have. If you don't want to do that, may I suggest that you buy two camera filters from Tiffen: Soft Image FX #1 and #3.
    007zOT-17582384.jpg
     
  14. This is a sample from a Photoshop image blur.
    007zOW-17582484.jpg
     
  15. Tiffen Pro-Mist #1. I've shot several weddings with it and it keeps details sharp but softens just the right amount.
    0080QF-17606784.JPG
     
  16. Sorry. The first photo is with no filters. Second one is with the filter.
    0080QH-17606884.JPG
     
  17. Geesh. I really can't get this right! Ok. First two, no filter. This one *really* has the filter! :)
    0080QQ-17607084.JPG
     

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