1. Technology

How To Enhance A Portrait with a Soft Focus "Glamour" Effect - PhotoImpact Method 1


Soft Focus

Soft focus effect for enhancing portrait photos. (It looks even better on hi-res images.)

This simple technique works especially well on portraits, but don't hesitate to try it on other types of images. The effect produces a warm glow, softening details and diminishing noise and artifacts similar to a soft focus or diffusion lens filter. Follow the steps here to create the soft focus "glamour" effect in Ulead PhotoImpact.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open the photo.

  2. Duplicate the background by choosing Edit > Copy and then Edit > Paste > As object.

  3. Go to Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Gaussian Blur.

  4. Click Options, then set the variance to 4-10 pixels (use a high amount for hi-res images, low amount for low-res) and click OK.

  5. In the layer manager, set the merge mode to soft light.

  6. Optional: Increase the transparency of the blurred soft light layer to slightly reduce this effect.


  1. Experiment with other blend modes such as inverse of multiply, hard light, overlay or others.

  2. Inverse of multiply will lighten the photo, so try it on photos that are too dark. Hard light and overlay will darken the picture, so try it on photos that are too light.

  3. The Darken and If Darker merge mode sometimes produce a watercolor-like effect.

  4. If you don't like the effect in certain areas of the image you can erase portions of the top layer with a soft brush.

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