Photography Information

Diffusion & Softening of Digital Photography Images


Like many people who've made the switch from film cameras to digital, I've discovered that the lens tools I once used so effectively on my cameras to soften, diffuse and vignette my images for quality "finished" professional results won't do for digital what they did for film.

I'm sure it's arguable by some that their diffusers still work fine, and I too have discovered that some tools still work okay under some circumstances; my Ziess Softar #1 seemed to offer decent results when photographing a single subject in the studio but I knew that the black netting diffuser that I used with my Lindahl Bell-o-shade no longer worked on the Nikon D70 zoom lens at the wider angles without showing lines in the image. Not a risk I was willing to take professionally so I just stopped using the Lindahl shade and drop-down filters for a while.

Then it happened. A savvy carriage trade-minded customer brought in a wall portrait that she had purchased several years ago by a photographer obviously using medium format lens tools like I was used to using in the past with my film camera. She wanted her new wall portraits to have that same "softened" look. So I arrived at the portrait session armed with my digital camera equipped with the very mild Softar Filter that works at any aperture on any lens thinking that this was good insurance at getting the kind of "softness" she could live with.

Understand that I knew any diffusion used on an entire family group portrait would be more exaggerated by their relative head sizes but I had explained that to her and she assured me she liked her portrait images "very soft".

While the images looked good on the small camera monitor, once I opened them up in Photoshop and printed them out as proofs I knew they were too soft. I called a colleague who is a digital expert and explained to him what I had done. He told me that you simply cannot use on-lens filters anymore for professional softening and diffusion without creating mush on 35mm type digital camera images. This leaves the special effects job now to the computer and not the camera. "But I've tried using Photoshop CS for their diffusion tools and what I get doesn't look like real photography," I complained, "The results are terrible." He agreed that Photoshop's filters weren't the right tools either to mimic the professional photography filters of the past but told me that there is a company that has a software program that is a plug-in for my Photoshop and has filter tools to recreate believable results for various levels of softening and diffusion.

The software is called "PhotoKit" and is available from Pixel Genius for only $49.95. I bought the Mac version and it is wonderful. I have played around with it now and have found that you can get varying degrees of whatever you want that looks similar to what you used to be able to do with your old lens filters and drop-down tools. Even more possibilities are now available to you. One of my favorites is the ability to lasso areas and "clear" the results of diffusion keeping eyes and teeth sparkly and sharp.

If there is a downside to doing your diffusion this way it's that the customer can't really see the results on the proof, so they have to "trust" your artistic license. But it was like this with retouching too so there will be a short new education curve for your clientele to learn, or to save yourself from disaster you might offer a second proof appointment to show the customer a proof of their selected images with the added softening or diffusion. It's going to take more time and you'll end up with having to rework some things more than you want so I'd only recommend this for customers like mine who's initial concern was the diffusion issue.

In summary, softening and diffusion can be done effectively and professionally but it's not as easy as it used to be when you'd just pick the filter you wanted and pop it over the lens. Your old on-camera lens filters will often turn your digital images to "mush" or images of weak contrast that may or may not be salvageable.

Tom Ray is a Certified Professional Photographer through the Professional Photographers of America. If you are interested in his full story please go to: http://www.rayphotography.com/HomeBiz2info.html - Professional Photography: Success Without School!


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Digital Trends

The top-selling digital photography book can be yours for free now
Digital Trends
The Northrups have been posting regular photography videos on YouTube for the last six years, and have built up a solid fan base over that time. The channel covers a variety of subject matter that includes photo tips, camera reviews, and software guides.



iMore (press release) (blog)

iPhone Photography Awards 2018
iMore (press release) (blog)
I've been doing photography and working in the user experience design field for long time. I was fascinated by changing user behavior with the introduction of the iPhone. Almost every iPhone user I observed was using the camera for capturing moments.
Winning Imagery from the iPhone Photography Awards 2018Cool Hunting
From SE to the X: check out the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards winnersPhone Arena
The best shots at the iPhone Photography Awards 2018. Photowww.MICEtimes.asia (press release)

all 6 news articles »


New York Times

At Arles Festival, 7 Promising Photographers to Watch
New York Times
These are a few of the questions raised by photographers from places including China, France, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey whose works are on display at the Rencontres d'Arles photography festival, which runs through Sept. 23. These are edited ...



Fstoppers

Amazon's Second-Best-Selling Photography Book Is Now Available for Free Download
Fstoppers
The second-best-selling photography book of all time in the “Digital Photography” section of Amazon has been made available for free download by its authors, who are currently celebrating reaching one million subscribers on YouTube. Photographers Tony ...



9to5Mac

These are the winners of the 11th annual iPhone Photography ...
9to5Mac
The annual iPhone Photography Awards have recognized the best images taken with the iPhone over the last 11 years, and now the winners of this year have ...
Apple CEO Tim Cook Congratulates 2018 iPhone Photography ...Mac Rumors
See photos from this year's 11th annual iPhone Photography AwardsAppleInsider

all 5 news articles »



Fstoppers

Get a New Perspective on Aerial Photography With a 360-Degree Camera
Fstoppers
Drones have given us an entirely new perspective in photography and videography but, of course, they aren't the final frontier. This video from PhotoshopCAFE offers a different take on aerial photography and shows you how to do it. Host Colin Smith ...



HuffPost

The 2018 iPhone Photography Awards Prove You Don't Need A ...
HuffPost
Ever since the release of the first iPhone, the iPhone Photography Awards have honored the true masters of mobile photography. Now in its 11th year, we're ...
Winning images from the 2018 iPhone Photography awards ...Australian Photography + digital

all 13 news articles »


Fstoppers

Talent, Not Tools, Will Determine the Quality of Your Photography
Fstoppers
Today, I state the obvious. But sometimes even the most obvious things can be easy to forget. I got an email yesterday from a talented young photographer. The aspiring professional asked a very logical question, one that I myself would've asked when I ...



WZTV

FERRIER FILES: A dangerous game: Abandoned building photography
WZTV
That is a type of wedding photographer who captures very few posed photos. He is looking for moments. The natural emotion of the day. What most people don't know is that there is another side to Jay Farrell's photography, a temptation he can't resist.


Google News

home | site map | Seashell Photography
© 2006