Definition of soft focus in English:

soft focus


mass noun
  • Deliberate slight blurring or lack of definition in a photograph or film.

    ‘the scene was beautifully captured in soft focus and low lighting’
    • ‘Later, when he turned to more straightforward photography, he still used areas of soft focus to set off the subject.’
    • ‘Nicholson manages to convey the simultaneous ubiquity and otherness of photography through a kind of painterly soft focus that, in its cunning blandness, anticipates Gerhard Richter and Chuck Close.’
    • ‘His experience is visible in the way he directs the gaze of the viewer to the desired spot - by keeping the details in soft focus.’
    • ‘The opening scene of the Agony in the Garden, in mist and soft focus, gives us a great sense of the dramatic, and forewarns us that no sound or visual effect will be spared.’
    • ‘Some of the scenes in the film tended to border on oversaturation, and there were even instances where images looked like they were stuck in soft focus.’
    • ‘Both slow exposure time, as process, and wide angle and soft focus, as imaging qualities, satisfied my predilection for the 19th century.’
    • ‘Hill took the opportunity to take a series of pictures of the men, where the blur of the image, created by the fibrous texture of the paper negative, soft focus and slight movement, gives a sense of life to the calotype.’
    • ‘And the aforementioned disaster sites were shot by P. Elaine Sharp in soft focus to convey feelings of suspicion and to contrast the seemingly clear lens of investigative photography.’
    • ‘Her portraits of artists George Frederick Watts and William Holman Hunt allowed her penchant for soft focus, ethereal lighting and smudgy printing to be read as aesthetic gravitas rather than amateurish error.’
    • ‘At other times, a profile is little more than a close-up shot in soft focus.’
    • ‘Different from the sharp detail of Myst's structures, the focus changes from sharp in wide shot to soft focus in close up, with hot-spot objects rendered in trompe l' oeil detail.’
    • ‘After they'd had a quick look round Kensington Market at the weird and trendy clothes shops, Ian saw a poster on a wall - the face of Marlene Dietrich in soft focus.’
    • ‘The image seemed to be just a bit soft a lot of the time, so much so that it almost seems the movie was shot that way, in slightly soft focus.’
    • ‘They'll call it a brilliant study, and talk about the beauty of the human body, how Altman contrasts the sinewy muscle of the dancers' bodies with velvety soft focus and lots of rose-coloured light.’
    • ‘Early pictorialists thought photographs should be derivative of painting, with moody lighting and soft focus.’
    • ‘The very filmic techniques used - soft focus, slow motion, and subtle colors - characterize the violence as romantic.’
    • ‘The video quality isn't as sharp as newer films, but that may be the result of the film-makers' choice to render a lot of the movie in slightly soft focus.’
    • ‘Delightfully conceived and beautifully shot; the camera pushing in closely with soft focus and colours a-blur, it captures Peter's carefree frame of mind perfectly.’
    • ‘More convincing as the trace of some optical method of working is the undeniable fact that certain areas in Vermeer's pictures, especially in the foreground, are rendered in very soft focus.’
    • ‘Certainly the aesthetics of MTV are written all over the new channel: average length of shot a fraction of a second, extensive use of digital processes, thrusting zooms, soft-focus, back-lighting and silhouetting.’


  • Characterized by or producing a deliberate lack of photographic definition.

    ‘a soft-focus filter’
    • ‘Scarlett Johannson is loved, with every due cause, by Coppola's camera, which seems to give her a soft-focus flourish every time Johannson takes a step or looks out a window.’
    • ‘Here are some tips for using soft-focus filters.’
    • ‘Much of their work was symbolic and romantic with an emphasis on soft-focus techniques, dark and moody lighting and the use of elaborate darkroom and printing techniques.’
    • ‘The change is made more powerful by the way Lee shot the final scene: filtered with golden light and soft-focus lenses, a marked difference from the gritty cinematography constituting most of the film.’
    • ‘But there are more varieties of soft focus filters than there are adjectives describing them.’
    • ‘We now see her face, enjoyed in close-up by the slightly soft-focus camera.’
    • ‘While the use of filters can be overdone by anyone, there are times when filters do help, and the center-spot soft focus filter is a great one to have in the bag.’
    • ‘Nature features prominently in Autumnal Suite and displays Patrick's skills in soft-focus, wide-angle and almost abstract photography.’
    • ‘The action switches to a luxurious villa in Thailand and we can be forgiven for thinking we've died and woken up in a 1980's Duran Duran video with every soft focus shot teeming with black ash furniture and tiger skin bedspreads.’
    • ‘Sure, it may seem overly convoluted, since we are treated to flashbacks within day/dream sequences, but with only about ten total scenes, each soft focus excursion is a rendezvous with irritation.’
    • ‘I also liked the intimate soft-focus split-screen close-ups Young used for all but one of the Scott and Amber phone conversations.’
    • ‘Andrzej Bartkowiak's soft focus photography creates quite an amount of grain in the picture and required extra care for the transfer to DVD.’
    • ‘The image takes on a soft-focus feel where my camera port has misted slightly through the thermocline.’
    • ‘Zone plate negatives tend to look very soft with low contrast, yet they are not like soft focus lens imagery and their look is not at all like pinhole imagery.’
    • ‘As a result of this smog, though, everything is like looking through a soft-focus lens and this becomes quite distracting after a while.’
    • ‘However, the rest of the film veers into something more conventional with shorter takes, soft-focus camerawork, and traditional linear narrative.’
    • ‘There is some grain, but it is a natural effect of soft-focus photography and easily acceptable.’
    • ‘Philippe Pache's photography - especially the one in the portfolio section - appeals to me because of its interplay between soft focus effects and a very effective use of light.’
    • ‘Two weeks later, a quieter, almost melancholic commercial debuted, featuring soft-focus footage of newly retired baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., walking off the field with his daughter.’
    • ‘Looking at all of these through the camera they found soft-focus effects, and circles of confusion on the lion's head, following Vermeer's rendering closely in their positions and shapes.’


soft focus