Digital Photography Editing: Simulating Soft Focus

Digital photography editing increases the amount of control that we all have over our digital images. There comes a time when we will all want to take photos using soft focus. Professionals may be able to use a special soft focus lens, but what if you don't have one? It is possible to achieve a similar effect by adding a soft focus filter to your photo. The instructions to accomplish this will differ depending on the software you are using and the different blur types. For the purpose of this tutorial we will be using Photoshop CS2, but similar Gaussian blur effects can be applied using almost any piece of image editing software.

Tools and Materials Needed

·     Digital Photo

·     Computer

·     Photo Editing Software

Step 1 - Duplicating Layers

First you need to open up your photo in photoshop and then duplicate the layer. To do this you can either select the option in the menu, or alternatively you can press Windows Key + J to duplicate the layer in windows. If you're running Mac OSX then you will need to press Command + J. After duplicating the layer you should notice that there are two layers listed in the layers palette.

If you can't see the list of layers, this could be because it's not visible. To show this window click on the Windows menu and choose Layers, or alternatively press F7.

Step 2 - Modifying Layers

Click on your new layer and change the mode into Overlay. This blend mode will boost contrast and color saturation levels. This creates a nice glow effect.

Step 3 - Applying Gaussian Blur

Once you have modified the layers it's now time to apply the Gaussian blur filter to your image. Select Layer 1 and click on the Filter menu, select Blur and then Gaussian Blur. You can then use this tookbox to adjust the settings.

At the bottom of this dialog box there will be a slider bar which can adjust various settings. The radius value can be changed using this slider bar, the higher you move the slider, the stronger the blur will be. Move the slider until the radius value adjusts the image to get the right effect. When adjusting the photo, it's important that you tick the Preview option at the top of the dialog box so that you can see the changes your actions will have on your photo.

The lower radius values will produce a much more severe effect, you will need to experiment until you get the effect that you want.

Step 4 - Saving the Photo

Once you've applied all the filters you need, you will then need to save the image. It's a good idea to save this as a new file rather than saving it over the top of your existing image. This means that you can still access your original image if needed.

There are also many different filters and affects which you can apply using photo editing software, including enhancements and artistic effects. The directions will differ slightly depending on the piece of software you are using to create the soft focus effect. Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: