Photographer uses ripped pantyhose over the lenses to take soft focus photos

The photographer shared a neat trick that gives photos a soft look: putting ripped pantyhose over the lens.

Ashley Tracy, of Columbus, Ohio, revealed how she puts ripped nylon stockings over her lens to create a glowing effect on her photos in a viral TikTok video that has racked up more than 1.8 million views.

@ashley.tracy one of my favourites! Have you tried this during the golden hour yet? 🤩 #weddingphotographer #elopementphotographer #photography #photographer #photographytips #photographytipsandtricks #pantyhosehack ♬ Janrah – $ avannah Hannah

The delicate, mesh-like texture of the pantyhose bends some of the light that passes through the lens while allowing the rest to travel straight through, creating a dreamy, hazy aesthetic.

ripped pantyhose effect

ripped pantyhose effect

Tracy—a photographer, podcaster, and content creator—changes the size of the rip in her socks to give a unique degree of control and manipulate the amount of spread in her shot. It uses a Canon 5D Mark IV with either a Canon 34mm f/1.4 or 24mm f/1.4 with the tech.

“You can control the level and amount of golden mist this provides by creating a larger or smaller slit in the [panty] Hose it,” Tracy says in a comment on TikTok. “I like to keep my subjects in the slit opening most of the time. This just enhances the comfort of the sunset! “

After the video was posted, hundreds of commenters demanded Tracy show the results of this hoax. Tracy posted a follow-up video of the amazing images she created using this technique.

@ashley.tracy Reply to mrskatyshipp here you go! Thanks for all the support and attention friends! 🤍 You can control the level and amount of golden mist created by creating a larger or smaller slit in the hose. I like to keep my topics in the rip opening most of the time. ✨ This only enhances the comfort of the sunset! #photographytips #pantyhosetrick #weddingphotographer #photographer #phototips #Goldenhour #creativeshooting #photographertips #photographersoftiktok ♬ Heart attack -.

When a viewer asked if this effect could be achieved with a filter in editing, Tracy replied, “In my experience, none of the editing is good when you get it right in camera! I always shoot some with and without pantyhose.”

ripped pantyhose effect

ripped pantyhose effect

ancient technology

Placing socks strategically over a lens or “grid” is an age-old cinematography trick that has been used in the film industry for decades to soften a shot and give people an angelic “glow.”

Hollywood cinematographers use light or dark pantyhose that are either tightly stretched or loosened in front of or behind the lens to achieve a defined look.

For Atonement (2007), cinematographer Seamus McGarvey shot most scenes in the first third of the film using Christian Dior’s 10-denier stockings stretched behind the viewfinder to achieve a soft, dreamlike focus.

However, the implementation in photography is somewhat unusual as is Tracy’s choice to cover only a portion of the lens. More of her work can be found by visiting her website and her Instagram.


Image credits: All photos by Ashley Tracy.

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