How to blur one part of the picture keeping sharp another

July 26, 2014   2266 views

Oleg Ti article creativity mixed light

Here is an example of my fashion photography in which the light over the model is divided into two parts: the upper part of the model is lit with strobe light, while the lower with continuous. I wanted to achieve this effect where her sharp upper part would start to be blurred at the lever of her gown, leaving it without sharpness at the bottom level.

I needed a soft light and I chose an umbrella as a key light. Although I do not like umbrellas in normal studio shootings and rarely use them, when you want to shoot with mixed light you should use it. The matter is the gel, which I needed to use to change color temperature and you know that you need a small piece to use it with umbrella, you need just to cover umbrella reflector. With softbox you have to use a large piece of gel, covering diffusion surface of the softbox and that is wastefully enough. I use in my work dozens and dozens gels. And that is even not a question about money but that is a question about space in the studio and usability. I used 204 gel to convert color temperature from 5600K to 3200K, the same color temperature which halogen lamp has.

gels mixed light

Umbrella with this conversion gel was placed above the modelís head, and if I left only this lighting source, the picture would look like this: well-lit head, arms and chest and upper part of her dress, and darkness beneath this level. With another lighting unit, which worked as a continuous lighting source I illuminated area which isnít covered with key light, trying to put light only over this area, not over the areas that is already lit with the key light. So we donít need any gel here, because we have the same color temperature that strobe lighting unit has with 204 gel.

color gels mixed light article creativity mixed light fashion 136 gel

Next I had to illuminate the background. I used a reflector with honeycomb grid. In this case, I had to use the strobe light as usual. I will move my camera and I donít need the background continuous light would make modelís gown transparent. Of course, I wanted to make it color and I added 136, Pale Lavender gel. This color would be best to fit with color of the gown. Of course with 204 gel. I needed the same color temperature the key light has.

To complete it I moved my camera during the one-second exposure to smudge the lower part of the gown, giving photography a creative look. Of course didnít forget to change color temperature in my camera to Tungsten. You understand that all lighting unit have the same color temperature now, around 3200K. Good luck.

Camera: Hasselblad H3DII
Lens: Hasselblad 2.8 80 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter speed: 1 second
ISO: 100