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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> What's the popular thinking on soft portraits?
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01/29/2005 11:41:04 PM · #1
I shot this for the bokeh challenge, but did not enter it. I thought it would get crushed for a number of different reasons, but I wanted to ask what the current popular thought was on soft portraits.

How do folks feel about something like this?

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This is nearly right out of the camera. No PhotoShop Guassin blur added, just shallow DOF. A very informal portrait taken early on a Sunday morning.

Thanks,
David

01/30/2005 12:12:09 AM · #2
I love it.
That sort of treatment may not suit EVERY portrait, and not every single time, but in this case I think it is beautiful.
01/30/2005 12:14:52 AM · #3
Left you a comment.
Beautiful.
01/30/2005 12:18:07 AM · #4
Boy, seems like nobody wants to give an opinion.
By the time I got this in two people has responded, I guess I am just too slow :)
Well, I think it depends on the person, clearly some people like the soft focus effect. Personally I donít like soft focus but that is just me, I donít think other are wrong for liking it just different taste.

But more important then what do others think is what to you think of the photo. If the soft focus gives it a look that you like then it is a good photo. We all tend to get a bit too worried about what we think others will like, in particular what the votes will like. If you can take photos that you really like then you will find that others also like it, maybe not everyone but does that really matter.

Message edited by author 2005-01-30 00:19:28.
01/30/2005 12:19:17 AM · #5
Hi-ho,

As Beetle said; this one lovely, but it dosn't suit all situations. Soft images tend to suit faces with soft features, and OOF or soft backgrounds. An image of a gnarly old man with an industrial building behind him isn't good soft, IMHO.

Out of curiosity, if this is out of the camera, what lens are you using?

Cheers, Chris H.
01/30/2005 12:23:09 AM · #6
Beautiful child. I am a fan of soft focus when the situation warrants. I think it is nice here, but the eyes really needed to be a bit more in focus. The cut off yellow character on her shirt is distracting to me as well. She does have a lovely cherub face that I think soft focus will work nicely on. :)
01/30/2005 12:50:36 AM · #7
Great comments from all.

It sounds like most folks are ok with it as long as it suits the situation at hand. This is good to know. I was afraid that the entire world was stuck on Sharp + Super Sharp photos. Digital being what it is, I think people forget about some of the things film and photographic technics can bring.

Lens = Nikkor 135MM f/2.0 DC

Thanks everyone for the comments!
01/30/2005 02:45:11 AM · #8
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Message edited by author 2005-07-11 21:31:59.
01/30/2005 03:42:03 AM · #9
Originally posted by yurasocolov:

Absolutely awesome. Was it the lens, filter or hair spray?


Useless fact... Don't use hairspray on a UV filter if it's near your Canon kit lens... The hair spray attacks the plastic. Have the lens far, far away. :-).

It wasn't me, but a friend has a very odd 'bumpy' finish to the kit lens on his 300D now after I suggested he try misting hairspray on an old UV filter. He did it with the filter on the lens, but he had the sense to remove the lens from the camera first..... :-).

I prefer vasaline for what it's worth. I've also had good results with nylon pantyhose in the past, which gives neat 'starburst' highlights and is easier to clean off your filter than vasaline! ;-). You can also 'stretch' the nylons to different degrees to get different effects...

Cheers, Me.

Message edited by author 2005-01-30 03:42:27.
01/30/2005 04:21:30 AM · #10
Originally posted by KiwiChris:

I prefer vasaline for what it's worth. I've also had good results with nylon pantyhose in the past, which is easier to clean off. You can also 'stretch' the nylons to different degrees to get different effects...

I'm so glad that there's an explaining context to this post.

For what it's worth, I feel that Scott's opinion is worth repeating. If you like it, half the battle's over.

(edited to add:) I really like this photo. What you call 'soft' isn't really soft, it's just very short dof as there is a very clear point in focus. It works here well.

Message edited by author 2005-01-30 04:26:19.
01/30/2005 05:52:00 AM · #11
My personal opinion is soft focus should be done with a light touch. I would like to heve seen the eyes sharper in this image.

Soft focus is nice for hiding the beginning lines of age, but if the model doesn't need it, it's merely a distraction (for me). The eyes in this image could have jumped off the page at us.
01/30/2005 06:25:45 AM · #12
Originally posted by swagman:

My personal opinion is soft focus should be done with a light touch. I would like to heve seen the eyes sharper in this image.

Soft focus is nice for hiding the beginning lines of age, but if the model doesn't need it, it's merely a distraction (for me). The eyes in this image could have jumped off the page at us.


I agree... You must pay attention to the eyes. A soft focus can be nice but the eyes need detail and some sharpness.
01/30/2005 07:08:46 AM · #13
I really don't like soft focus portraits, in my oppinion they look way too cheesy (spelling?). Remind me of tv interviews where everything is soft and abnormally white to try to make older people less wrinkly (spelling agin?). Not my cup of tea. Beautiful child you have there.
01/30/2005 07:48:06 AM · #14
I love soft focus, not just on portraits, but for many things. I do love this, and think the eyes are in focus enough to make it an effective portrait.

Left you a comment.

Linda
01/30/2005 09:03:24 AM · #15
Originally posted by tyrkinn:

I really don't like soft focus portraits, in my oppinion they look way too cheesy (spelling?). Remind me of tv interviews where everything is soft and abnormally white to try to make older people less wrinkly (spelling agin?). Not my cup of tea. Beautiful child you have there.


Hey, we old people prefer to look less wrinkly! lol

As for the photo, I like it. Soft, but the eyes are clearer (and beautiful). I find the yellow on the shirt distracting and not suiting the soft look of the overall photo. I'd clone over it. Good job!
01/30/2005 09:24:36 AM · #16
I just hate it when people have out of focus shots and claim they were going for a soft focus feel. Well executed soft focus shots are still sharp.
01/30/2005 09:41:09 AM · #17
Originally posted by swagman:

My personal opinion is soft focus should be done with a light touch. I would like to heve seen the eyes sharper in this image.

Soft focus is nice for hiding the beginning lines of age, but if the model doesn't need it, it's merely a distraction (for me). The eyes in this image could have jumped off the page at us.


I'll keep this point of focus on the eyes in mind next time I try this affect. Unfortunately, I dialed the lens down to f/2.0 which exaggerated the "soft-look" to the image here. If I would have pumped it up to f/4.0 or f/5.6 I could have gotten the eyes sharper.

My point, the eyes are in focus, but the soft affect is near an extreme, therefore producing a level of blur throughout the focal plane.

Thanks again for all the insight...interesting thoughts on this from all.

01/30/2005 09:45:15 AM · #18
I don't think the soft focus really compliments the picture. Also, the lighting looks way too flat, IMO, almost like an on camera flash.
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