Definition of soft focus in US English:

soft focus


  • Deliberate slight blurring or lack of definition in a photograph or movie.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Later, when he turned to more straightforward photography, he still used areas of soft focus to set off the subject.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Early pictorialists thought photographs should be derivative of painting, with moody lighting and 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.’
    • ‘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 very filmic techniques used - soft focus, slow motion, and subtle colors - characterize the violence as romantic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At other times, a profile is little more than a close-up shot 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.’
    • ‘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.’


  • 1Characterized by or producing a lack of definition.

    • ‘Andrzej Bartkowiak's soft focus photography creates quite an amount of grain in the picture and required extra care for the transfer to DVD.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a result of this smog, though, everything is like looking through a soft-focus lens and this becomes quite distracting after a while.’
    • ‘The image takes on a soft-focus feel where my camera port has misted slightly through the thermocline.’
    • ‘We now see her face, enjoyed in close-up by the slightly soft-focus camera.’
    • ‘I also liked the intimate soft-focus split-screen close-ups Young used for all but one of the Scott and Amber phone conversations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there are more varieties of soft focus filters than there are adjectives describing them.’
    • ‘Here are some tips for using soft-focus filters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nature features prominently in Autumnal Suite and displays Patrick's skills in soft-focus, wide-angle and almost abstract photography.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, the rest of the film veers into something more conventional with shorter takes, soft-focus camerawork, and traditional linear narrative.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a point of view or style of presentation that obscures or avoids sharp definition in order to be more widely acceptable.
      ‘soft-focus, nonpolitical essays about American life’
      • ‘A Scot long domiciled in California, Fraser presents a skilled, soft-focus take on the traditions of Scots fiddle, and here brings his young protégé Haas' cello centre-stage.’
      • ‘So we take a walk in the rain-washed city - admiring its colonial architecture that acquires a new dimension, a kind of soft focus look, through curtains of rain.’
      • ‘In the hands of most other film-makers, Innocence could be a real disaster, a soft-focus sentimental story for the midday movie or some romance cable channel.’
      • ‘While Friends Reunited fosters a soft-focus view of school life, many of us remember the harsh reality.’
      • ‘The Notebook is soft-focus schmaltz, a very familiar tune played with minor variations, based on a book by known syrup merchant Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle).’
      • ‘Last season's fixation with soft focus subtlety has been replaced with bold new colours in a dramatic Eighties style.’
      • ‘Maybe it is more instructive to ask instead why it is that the chemistry of that age was seen, both by its contemporary practitioners and by later chroniclers, through the soft-focus lens of Romanticism.’
      • ‘I was content to follow orders, anticipating some soft-focus, Zen-Hallmark epiphany, a shimmering new apprehension of my own goodness, or smallness, or something.’
      • ‘A soft-focus hue drifts around the trees and undergrowth, the light becomes diffuse, the shadows deepen.’
      • ‘Tunes here draw on Indian, Jamaican, Brazilian, French and various other geographical reference points, but it all gets bogged down in lazy, monotonous beats and soft-focus keys.’
      • ‘The grinning imbeciles featured on Levitra's website indicate that not only will Levitra make you much happier; it will also transport you to a soft-focus cloud-wrapped fantasy world.’
      • ‘In the past decade, the artistic director of TheatreWorks, Singapore's first professional stage company, has moved from soft-focus looks at the Lion City to multimedia, multicultural presentations around the world.’
      • ‘Instead, Pacino brings a soft-focus desperation and world-weariness to his beleaguered character, who just wants the industry to acknowledge his talent.’
      • ‘Twenty-five years ago, at Vassar, where we met, she was a pretty, plumpish hippie girl, with a soft-focus interest in music, painting, creative writing.’
      • ‘Sweet Sixteen presents a raw, no-frills slice of West of Scotland life just as it is, a human, humane and grimly humorous story from the rough end, far removed from the soft-focus Scottish tourism adverts.’
      • ‘By episode two, Danny's soft-focus angst expands to include Greg, his old school friend, who didn't run away to join the Marines like Danny, but instead went to work in Danny's father's firm.’
      • ‘Perhaps it is comforting to know that John Major's soft-focus view of Britain replete with warm beer and old maids cycling to church does exist somewhere.’
      • ‘The familiar soft-focus genre-blending, now with added electro, is peppered with deadpan aphorisms from actor Michael Jayston; though hit-and-miss, they enhance the peculiarly English ambience.’
      • ‘The bigger issue is that 1917 reads like either a soft-focus prelude or a rehashed coda to The Deep, and as such it is swamped by the structural and tonal complexity of the former.’
      • ‘How many of us have golden, soft-focus memories of Laura Ashley in the early Seventies - all our teenage days in sprigged cotton frocks, Edwardian lace blouses, pavement-sweeping skirts and bare feet?’


soft focus

/sôft ˈfōkəs//sɔft ˈfoʊkəs/