An P.R. agency I work with got in touch with me yesterday. They were in a small panic (but they handled it well). They have two client who are flying in from somewhere and they need new portraits taken of them to couple with a series of press releases. They said they'd like to do something downtown but would like to have the background "kind of blur out...."
We arranged to photograph tomorrow around lunch time so I decided to go back downtown and make some scouting pictures of likely locations. I did the usual scouting by taking note of places for the subjects to stand that would be out of the sidewalk traffic and places for me to stand while taking the photos that wouldn't be out in the middle of car traffic.
When I got to my destination I had the idea that I might better show the client how this would all work if I blurred the background in the scouting photographs. It would be one less thing for them to try and imagine.
I was carrying the recently acquired Leica SL and I attached my favorite Contax 50mm lens to it. Then I set the focus to between five and six feet and opened the lens up to its widest aperture; f1.7.
The world looks different when you intentionally blur it. We're overcast today and I hope we stay that way until I finish with this project tomorrow. I plan to bring a small flash and a tiny soft box. It doesn't have to be much, I just want to add a tiny bit of direction to the light. If we're in overcast it should all pan out just right.
Since I was once a Boy Scout and really liked the motto ("Be Prepared") I went ahead and cleaned up the studio and set up a background and some lights there. If it's pouring down rain tomorrow, or crazy windy, we'll just move everything there and keep the process moving along.
Now that I think about it I guess if we retreat to the studio I could use one of these ready made background in a composite and still get the shot they wanted. I've never "blur scouted" before so I wanted to share the idea with you and see what you think. Good idea? Stupid? Right now I'm thinking it's pretty cool....
A quick "thank you!" to my unwitting patron, the W Hotel.
I have used their fine restroom facilities through a large
percentage of the pandemic. Nicely upscale.