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Photography Question 
Jaclyn Klassen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/30/2005
 

Soft Pictures: How to Get Them?


Hi,
I am just wondering: How do you get pictures that look soft? For some pictures, I know you don't want that but for others it gives a nice effect. Thanks!


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12/26/2005 12:02:19 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings, Jackie: There are a lot of ways. Starting with camera shake at slow shutter speeds, which will blur the entire image.
Or, you can get softar filters of one grade or another, and one type or another, that will leave some of the image sharp while the center is soft, or a sharp center with soft focus elsewhere.
Another trick is to get some Vaseline and smear a little bit on skylight UV or warming filter, and place that on your lens. Never smear Vaseline on the lens itself.
Also, remember that when you use softar filters or the Vaseline trick, you're going to need to compensate a bit, say 1/3 to 1/2 of an f-stop in additional exposure.
Lastly, there's the old depth-of-field trick, using a larger f-stop like f2.8 or as wide as your lens will allow, while focusing on the foreground, will soften or depending on how far back it is, will entirely blur out the background, or visa versa.
Take it light
Mark


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12/26/2005 2:41:56 PM

 
Jaclyn Klassen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/30/2005
  Hey, Thanks! Where would I get a softar filter? I've never used a filter before. Also does PS provide a actual filter that will soften? Thansks!

J.K.


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12/26/2005 2:54:10 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Most medium stocked neighborhood camera stores carry a few softar filters from manufacturers like Hoya and Tiffen. Take your camera and try on a few to see what your preference is. OR, if you know what you're pretty much looking for, go to http://www.bhphotovideo.com, look under filters and accessories and search for softars.

Yes, I believe PS has features that will soften focus, but I'm digitally impaired so don't know for sure. ;>)
M/.


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12/26/2005 5:41:22 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  Photoshop absolutely has features that will soften. Gausian Blur is a very popular filter that you can use to soften a part of a picture or just the entire image. It can be used to soften a person's face and make wrinkles less noticeable. I like to blur the face a little but leave the eyes sharp. To do this, I copy the image into a new layer so that I can do the editing to the copy. I blur the copy a little and then I adjust the opacity to make it transparent so that the original image shows through. I then erase the eyes little by little from the copy to let the sharp, original eyes show through even more.
Some people use Diffuse Glow in Photoshop to get that dreamy, soft look. It doesn't work well for all images but can be quite awesome for others.
There are plenty of other ways to soften in Photoshop - I only mentioned the easiest, most common ways.


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12/26/2005 10:30:37 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  Just breathe on the lens a little or a lot.


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12/27/2005 11:59:35 AM

 
Jaclyn Klassen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/30/2005
  Hi thanks! I will try out that gausian blur Cherylann.


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12/27/2005 2:16:32 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  As mentioned, there are many ways to achieve a soft-focus effect. (I've even heard of spraying a clear filter with hair spray.) A fog filter will create a dreamy, soft halo around lights and bright reflections while retaining sharpness throughout the rest of the image.
When using slide films, it's possible to sandwich two transparencies together ... one tack-sharp and the other out of focus for a neat effect.
Whatever method one chooses to use, it should appear to the viewer as intentional and not a by-product of poor focusing techniques or camera-shake.


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12/27/2005 2:25:27 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  Take your pictures using the LCD as the viewfinder. I've been asked to try to salvage too many images by friends who failed to use the viewfinder. The results cannot be sharpened.


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12/27/2005 3:55:17 PM

 
Karolyn Munson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2004
  As Cherylann said, Photoshop can be very useful for making the soft focus effect. To expound on what she said, here's what I often do. First, make an adjustments to the original that you might want (such as brightness/contrast, curves, etc.). Then make two layers by copying the image (go to the 'Layers' menu at the top, then 'duplicate image'). Apply a Gaussian blur to both new layers (go to 'Filters', 'Blur', 'Gaussian Blur'). Typically, I use a radius of around 7 for my Gaussian blur, but it may need more or less depending on the subject and the resolution you are working with (it's really trial and error until you find the combination that works for you). Then I set one of the new layers to 'Screen' and the other to 'Overlay' (if you don't have your Layer Palette showing, go to 'Window', 'Show Layers'). You'll find these options on your Layer Palette in the pull down menu. Then, also on your Layer Palette, you need to adjust the opacity of each layer - again this is trial and error until you find the exact result you're looking for. Another option is to make only one layer, use Gaussian blur, and set it to 'Lighten' for a slightly different look... But the possibilities for using photoshop go on and on for this. A great step-by-step how-to with pictures to demonstrate can be found at http://adactio.com/articles/display.php/photoshop_actions/1. I hope this helps, and I hope you weren't insulted by how detailed I got - I didn't know if you were familiar with Photoshop or not. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me!


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12/28/2005 9:24:37 AM

 
Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
Contact Shirley
Shirley's Gallery
  First of all, do not use Vaseline...use K-Y Jelly. Vaseline can damage camera or lens parts if it gets on them. A bit of white nylon, as in 'footies', stretched over the lens will give an inexpensive, but great soft-filter look. Also, rather than 'sandwiching' exposures, do a double exposure, one totally in focus, one totally out of focus. The effect varies with the lens focal length, distance from subject, etc. You have to experiment.


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12/28/2005 10:03:51 AM

 
stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/12/2004
  try a Sima soft focus lens...you can find them on ebay inexpensive, be sure it will fit your camera or you will need a t-mount for it...its a great manual soft focus lens that you can control the softness by turning it...its great!


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12/28/2005 11:09:43 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  there are allot of free photo shop actions at action central . com theres one called glam blur that will soften the photo... youll see it there under downloads.
Craig-


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12/28/2005 12:32:12 PM

 
Sam Jain   Hi Jackie

The cheapest and the safest way is to cut out a small piece of an old stocking and put it over the lens. You could secure it using a rubber band or something. The effect is 'Gorgeous'. Do let me know if it works for you.

Sam


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12/29/2005 12:15:57 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  another thing you can try is to add about a 2% Gaussian blur to the shot. I also read somewhere that if you take a uv filter and a can of aerasol hair spray and shott it in the air, then "wake" the filter through the mist, it will work, but it might take a few passes to get just the right amount. im all about photoshop filters, its more accurate and lets YOU decide what the final output will be.There's nothing like having total control of your idea and getting it out for all of us to enjoy.
Craig-


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12/29/2005 4:24:21 AM

 
Jaclyn Klassen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/30/2005
  Thanks for all of your responses! I will look into those ideas.


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12/29/2005 7:30:30 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I own four filters for the soft effect. Three by Tiffen (soft focus #1, #2, & #3). I also use a diffusion filter which has a softening effect. I've also thrown my camera slightly out of focus to soften detail. I have used all of the above on portraits with striking results. best of luck.


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12/29/2005 10:00:50 PM

 
Jerry Frazier   just shoot with a 20D (LOL).


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12/29/2005 10:06:55 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  thanks for the chuckle joe.


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12/30/2005 8:15:26 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Soft filters are available at most photo supply stores. Online, you can purchase one at www.porters.com. This link takes you to Porter's Camera Store in Cedar Falls, Ia. You can also request their catalog. This is where I purchased my Tiffen soft focus #3 filter. This site has a good variety of soft focus and diffusion filters which you can choose from. Another way to achieve a soft focus effect is to smear a small amount of vaseline (yes, I said vaseline) on a skylight or uv-a filter. I hope this helps you,


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1/11/2006 7:02:32 PM

 
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