How to make photography with sharp and blurred details in one picture

May 20, 2015   5073 views

blurred blurry photography long exposure continuous and strobe lights conversion gels mixed lighting

So many photographers try to give a “live, vivid view” to their pictures with shooting with long exposure. To make a picture more artistic, to divert attention from unnecessary details, to focus on the main things. As before the impressionists painted their masterpieces with fast, wide brush strokes, the modern photographers create their photos with 1/10 sec shutter speed not trying to avoid blurred pictures but even on the contrary looking for them.

But the photography has to be always the photography and sometimes very brave leaving to excessive artistry deprives the main task of photography: to capture the moment as it can be with the greatest thoroughness, details, informative.

How to combine these two directions?

To take pictures with mixed lighting, using one of its variants, which I call "blurred style".

What is it?

Normally, shooting with mixed lighting requires using of strobe and continuous lighting units at different positions.

It looks as if we paint one part of the picture with sharp, detailed strobe light and another part with blurred continuous. And sometimes the success of mixed lighting photography depends on how exactly the photographer can separate both types of light. Apart from all the other prerequisites for the creation of successful pictures using mixed light, the main of them - is a clear understanding of which part of picture is illuminated with strobe light, and which with continuous.

But in this example, it's completely different!

Wanting to create a picture, which would have "blurred" view, but at the same time retain all the details, I apply this solution.

Two lighting sources of different types of light are arranged so close together that they work almost as single lighting unit: both strobe and continuous. So much together that if I decided to move the light I would move them together. And sometimes I even use such a decision: smaller reflector before bigger one. That is the way to create absolutely the same direction of both type of light.

201 gel blurred photography long exposure continuous and strobe lights conversion gels blurred long exposure continuous and strobe lights conversion gels mixed lighting

Of course, one of them has to wear a conversion filter, we need the same color temperature, so you can choose one of two solutions: either 201 Full CTB gel over the continuous light, giving it color temperature as strobe light has, 5300K, or vice versa, putting 204 Full CTO gel over the strobe light achieving 3200 Kelvin - the color temperature of the halogen lamp.

Why should we have such difficulties?

That is because I need to create kind of two images together - one of them is sharp, detailed, elaborated and another is blurred, smeared as much as I need. You understand that with continuous light I can blur the picture as much as I want.

Why couldn’t I use only one lighting source for achieving such an effect?

The matter is I need the same color temperature of both lighting sources. In usual studio we have lighting units that have halogen lamp (approx. 3200K) as a source of continuous light and as you know it is different to the strobe light (5300K). So I use such decision with two units and gels to have the same color temperature of both lighting units. Otherwise, I’ll get unnecessary different colors and tints in the photo.

Then I choose setups of my lighting units and camera to get 50% of exposure from strobe light and 50% from continuous. Then I move my camera as much as I need blurring 50% of the picture. Changing the ratio of strobe and continuous lights I can make whole picture more sharp or more blurred.

In this picture I used 1 sec shutter speed. I tried to move the camera around the lens axis, not shifting camera to any side. I need blurred picture around strobe one, that’s why it is so important here! Take a look at the picture:

blurry long exposure continuous and strobe lights conversion gels mixed lighting

You see in this crop of the picture that the reflections of continuous light in model’s eyes are whirling around one point. I used here one strobe and two continuous lighting units standing together (standard reflectors as a lighting modifier) so you see two reflections from continuous light. I even put additional faint gels with colors that her jewelry has. And of course this color gels I laid over conversion gels that I have to use in any case.

That's so simple! And if you master this technique of shooting, you definitely enrich your creativity and surprise and call attention to your viewers.

Good Luck.

Camera: Hasselblad H3DII?
Lens: Hasselblad 4.0 210 mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1.0 sec
ISO: 100