Get a dreamy soft focus effect

PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine|February 2020

Get a dreamy soft focus effect
Dan Mold shows you how applying Vaseline to your lens can produce a defocused look to pull the viewer’s eye into the heart of your image
Dan Mold

Achieving a soft focused image, where the middle of the shot is pin-sharp and the outer edges are blurred can be achieved easily by loading up the edges of a lens with petroleum jelly. It’s an old technique but a good one, and still employed even with today’s modern high-resolution digital cameras, because it’s an easy win with eye-catching results. Blur the edges of the frame and the viewer will have no choice but to look directly into your focal point!

It just goes to show that image clarity and super sharp lenses aren’t the be-all and end-all of photography – you can get really creative results with blur and a lack of clarity too! Now while there’s nothing stopping you from applying the Vaseline to your lens you may want to think twice – as it’s not the easiest substance to remove once applied.

Instead, we’re going to be using a UV filter which cuts our ultraviolet light, and as there is already a UV filter sitting on top of your camera’s sensor – the effects of these filters are pretty hard to spot – and are most-commonly used because they are an affordable way of protecting the front element of your lens and cutting down on haze a little bit when shooting outdoors. It’s much more cost-effective to replace a broken UV filter if you knock it, than send your lens off for a front element replacement.


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February 2020