It’s a really common photo editing technique to use image sharpening tools for bringing out all the fine details in your photos, but sometimes the opposite effect can be just as intriguing. The softened look is essential for creating romantic, dreamlike photography, and typically involves the use of a soft focus camera lens while shooting. By slightly blurring some of the details and giving the image an ethereal glow, the soft focus effect creates pure magic.
This look can be used on a number of photography styles, but how can you replicate it without blowing your budget on expensive camera gear? If you’ve ever wanted to mimic the soft and dreamy look that a high-quality, soft focus lens produces, then you’re in luck! BeFunky’s Soften Tool is ideal for achieving this soft focus effect, all without blurring any of your image’s important details. Intrigued? We bet you are! We’ll show you how to use it to enhance all sorts of photography.
Best Types Of Photos To Use With The Soften Tool
Now that you know about our amazing Soften tool, you’re probably wondering what genres of photography you can use it with. Here are our favorite types of photos to apply a soft-focus effect to:
Because portrait photography tends to feature its subject close-up, it’s the perfect genre for that soft-focus look. The Soften Tool is best used to soften elements within the foreground or background of your image (whilst keeping your subject in the middleground). This ensures your subject remains the focus of your viewer’s attention, but in an artistic, dreamy way.
Macro photography (also known as extreme close-up photography) features very small subjects which are made to look ‘larger than life’. This genre usually showcases living things, such as insects and flowers, but can also depict objects such as jewelry or small household items. In this case, the Soften Tool can be used to lessen the intensity and sharpness of the background, therefore highlighting the subject in all of its tiny glory.
Because softness in a photo is usually likened to romance and a dream-like state, it is also a very popular effect in wedding photography. Aside from adding an almost magical touch to every photo, the soft-focus look is also great for slightly blurring out wedding guests in the backgrounds of photos (like the famous walking down the aisle shot). This ensures the focus is on the bride and groom when it needs to be!
Fine Art Photography
The exact definition of fine art photography can be rather elusive, but it’s often best described as “artistic photography”. A photo belonging to this genre will go a step beyond capturing realism and incorporate the photographer’s creativity and imagination into the image as well. Because of this, fine art images tend to have a dream-like appearance which has been achieved with a soft-focus look.
Whatever type of photography is your strong suit, the Soften tool can help give it the dreamy, artistic edge you’ve been pining for.
How To Use The Soften Tool
When you’re ready to start getting creative with the softness of your photo, head to the Photo Editor and upload an image of your choice using the Open tab or by simply dragging-and-dropping an image into the interface. In the Edit menu on the left, navigate to the Soften tool, which is found under the Blur & Smooth section.
When you select Soften, you’ll notice the effect automatically shows on your image. You have the option to adjust Softness and Lightness by using the sliders located underneath. Increasing the Softness slider adds blur to the midtones in your image, making them appear softer.
Increasing the Lightness slider in your effect adds more highlights to the lighter areas of your image, creating a dreamy glow without completely washing out your subject. Feel free to play around with both the Softness and Lightness in your image until you achieve a look that’s just right.
If you only want to add a soft-focus effect to parts of your image (as opposed to the entire thing), then the Paint Mode option is for you! When you click on Erase in the Soften tool menu (the tab next to Adjust), you’ll be able to paint the effect selectively. Simply use the corresponding sliders to adjust Brush Size, Brush Hardness and Brush Strength, then click and drag with your mouse to remove the Soften effect from select areas of the image. Alternatively, you can click the Inverse icon (two overlapping squares) to paint the Soften effect on to a crisp image.
Once you’re happy with how your image looks, simply click the blue checkmark to apply the effect. You can then continue your photo editing process by using more tools and effects, or use the Save button in the top menu to save your image.
There you have it – your image now has a beautiful soft-focus look to rival the work of a professional photographer!
Ready to create your own dreamlike photography using our Soften tool? Get started below!