If you have seen me teach you will know I get rather excited by chirosquro. Using lights and darks to sculpt three dimensional forms and keep them round. Caravaggio is one of my heroes with this renaissance painting techniques.
There are four different techniques that painters developed in that period. The four canonical painting modes of the Renaissance were Cangiante, Chiaroscuro, Unione, and Sfumato.
The most prominent practitioner of sfumato was Leonardo da Vinci, and it is very evident in the Mona Lisa.
Sfumato is the gentle transition between tones that avoids a harsh line. Soft focus if you may.
There are quiet a few methods in photography to work with softening the edges. The first is with the quality of the light. Soft multidirectional light with soften and remove the harsh lines caused by directional lighting. Out side that will be working in the shadows on a sunny day. Cloud also diffuses light and the lower it is the more it diffuses it. Mist being the lowest cloud is my favourite.
Another photographic technique for sfumato is to blur the photograph. Blurring will soften the edges. There are so many ways to soften the image. There are probably hundreds. From camera movement, shooting through diffusers to simply shooting out of focus. I often mix out of focus with camera movement. Of course you can do it in post as well, if you are inclined to love your computer time, which I am not. Photoshop has many methods. Snapseed on your phone also has a great blur filter.
We teach this and other abstract photography techniques at our Abstract Photography Workshop in South West Rocks.
South West Rocks. Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2018