Sunday, 11 December 2011

Photoshop - Mega Quick Soft Focus Effect

I thought I'd share a mega quick way of giving a photo a soft focus effect in Photoshop.  It's ideal for romantic, dreamlike or fantasy photos.  It's so quick that I'm almost not sure if I should be listing it as a tutorial!

Anyway, this tip makes use of Photoshop layer blends and gaussian blur.  Here's a before and after example:

Stock Photo by Qute at

There are just three simple steps....
  • Open your photo and duplicate the layer.
  • Add a gaussian blur to the top, copied layer (I used 10 pixel radius, but you can use more or less depending on how strong you want the effect...just experiment!).
  • Set the blurred layer blend to SCREEN and reduce the opacity.  I used 75% for this example.
Upper photo layer blend settings.

  • Experiment with blur layer, try adding photo filters (sepia, warming, cooling, yellow etc).
  • There is no definitive setting to use with this technique as it really depends on the photo how it will turn out, so just try out different settings.
  • You can get some interesting effects by giving the blur layer one photo filter and the original layer a different photo filter.  (Sepia blur layer and yellow original works well).
  • Notice how the AFTER photo is much brighter?  You may want to adjust the brightness/contrast of your original.  It really depends on your photo.
I hope that little mini-tut will be useful.  If you have any Photoshop queries or particular photo or text effects you would like to achieve, just message me and I'll try to help.

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