Photographer uses ripped tights on lenses for blurry photos

ByDavid M. Conte

May 2, 2022

A photographer has shared a trick that makes photos look blurry: place torn pantyhose over the lens.

Ashley Tracy, from Columbus, Ohio, revealed how she places ripped nylon stockings over her lens to produce a glowing effect in her photos in a viral TikTok video that has amassed over 1.8 million views.

@ashley.tracy One of my favorite things! Have you ever tried during golden hour? ๐Ÿคฉ #wedding photographer #elopementphotographer #photography #photographer #advicephotography #photographytipsandtricks #tights โ™ฌ Janrah โ€“ $avannah Hannah

The thin mesh-like tights fabric bends some of the light passing through the lens while allowing the rest to travel straight through and create a dreamy, hazy aesthetic.

Torn sticky effect

Torn sticky effect

Tracy โ€“ photographer, podcaster and content creator โ€“ varies the size of the tear in the stockings to give a unique degree of control and to manipulate the amount of diffusion in her photo. She uses a Canon 5D Mark IV with a Canon 34mm f/1.4 or a 24mm f/1.4 in combination with the technique.

โ€œYou can control the level and amount of golden mist it gives out by creating a larger or smaller tear in the [panty] tip,โ€ Tracy said in a comment on TikTok. โ€œI like to keep my subjects in the tear opening most of the time. It only adds to that sunset comfort!โ€

After the video was posted, hundreds of commenters demanded that Tracy show the results of this trick. Tracy posted a follow-up video of the stunning photos she created using this technique.

@ashley.tracy Reply to @mrskatyshipp Voila! Thank you for all the support and interest friends! ๐Ÿค You can control the level and amount of golden mist it gives by creating a larger or smaller tear in the pipe. I like to keep my subjects in the open tear most of the time. โœจ This only enhances the sunset comfort! #advicephotography #pantyhosetrick #wedding photographer #photographer #phototips #goldenhour #creativeshooting #advicephotographer #photographersoftiktok โ™ฌ heart attack โ€“ .

When a viewer asked if this effect could be achieved using a filter during editing, Tracy replied, โ€œIn my experience, nothing in terms of editing ever looks so good when you do it. properly in camera! I always shoot with and without tights.

Torn sticky effect

Torn sticky effect

An ancestral technique

Strategically placing stockings on a lens or โ€œnetโ€ is an age-old cinematic trick that has been used in filmmaking for decades to soften a shot and give subjects an angelic โ€œglow.โ€

Hollywood cinematographers used light or dark tights stretched tightly or loosely in front or behind the lens to achieve a specific look.

For the film Atonement (2007), cinematographer Seamus McGarvey shot most of the scenes in the first third of the film with Christian Diorโ€™s 10 denier stockings stretched out behind the camera lens to achieve soft focus and dreamlike.

That said, the implementation in photography is rather unusual, as is Tracyโ€™s choice to only cover part of the lens. More of his work can be found by visiting him website and she instagram.


Picture credits: All photos by Ashley Tracy.