Soft but not blurry or hazy effect ?

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by poulette_k, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Hi everyone,
    It would be great if you could help me out with this. I'm wondering how this photographer got this particular sort of effect with the images: this kind of soft finish with the image still in focus but without a "hazy" sort of look you would get with something like a Pro-mist filter...
    Personally it looks like it was taken with a digital camera... or does it look like medium or large format film to you?

    I am not asking about the actual colour of the image as it is obvious that there was a colour filter involved during or after the shoot but I am more curious about the finish of the image... how it is able to be soft but preserve details at the same time..
    Any leads would be much appreciated!
    Mod: Per the Terms of Use, do not post photos that you did not take. You can post links as a comment below.
  2. Only post images on that are your own. Provide a link to the image that is not your own.
    I don't see any soft, misty look in the first image sample which appears bright and contrasty as it should for a direct sunlight shot going by the solid hard line black shadow to the left and behind the subject.
    I see the effect of overcast light on the second image. It appears a cloud has passed in front of the sun to provide the sort of low contrast soft look.
  3. Another example in the photography of Tina Barney (especially in this series): WARNING there is nudity!
    If I'm not mistaken it should be medium format but there is something in the rendering of the skin that makes it look like it's from a polaroid... as the figures are sharp but details are not harsh... Don't know if I'm being too vague here
  4. The Tina Barney photos are obviously film, since she has been shooting since 1975. Compared to current day high resolution digital cameras the film "look" I would say is a bit softer in a subtle way as you describe. In PS you can play around with "clarity" slider in ACR, or play around with the free plug in Nik effects. I'm sure there are other commercial filters out there. Making prints I've gotten softer prints when enlarging images taken with earlier cameras with less mp, such as the D70 with 6 mp. Just a thought.
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Ancient trick from film days might work to some useful extent -- stretch a piece of a sheer stocking or gauze over the lens. Another was to spread Vaseline on a clear filter.Specialized filters were and may still be available through photo vendors.
  6. There are myriad ways to achieve a soft look.
    The best is for example, an actual soft focus lens. I think Canon still makes a short telephoto that has this feature. Otherwise, eBay will reveal many, including actual antique lenses and modern reproductions (see "Petzval").
    The Sima Soft focus is pretty cheap and actually works pretty well. Another inexpensive one is the Spiratone Portragon. There are also many diffusion filters of various kinds.

    On the other had smearing the lens with jelly is another way. Vaseline is hard to remove, use either KY or grape jelly.
  7. Thanks for all your input! Yes I was always talking about film, I've also been playing around with printing and scanning
    As in making prints, either c-prints or inkjet, and then scanning them again I feel like that, too, changes the whole feeling of the picture

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