I am hoping someone could help shed some light on how these portraits are processed. The fairy tale softness in the skin, with yet the sharpness still maintained just has me confused on how it is done. Any insight on how to get results like this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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Source: https://500px.com/parshina

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    \$\begingroup\$ You should post a source to these images. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – confetti
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies. I though I put one in the main body. Made the post on mobile and it got lost. Source of images 500px.com/parshina \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


Looking at this photographers’ other images, it is clear that she is initially positioning her subjects where she is able to take full advantage of the composition with the help of wide apertures and shallow depth of field on her 85mm f/1.8 lens with a full frame sensor to create the effect.

She also very clearly ensures that she only clicks in soft light; both Windows and outdoors or if she has setup a softbox, the same applies.

From the outset, she seems to be clearly setting up her vision and the composition for the soft mood of each image, in-camera before moving onto post processing.

In post, all I see is an appropriate level of blemish removal, skin smoothing and Dodge & Burning to make the image pop.

You will need to read up on the various methods of skin smoothing, but the effect can be initiated with a simple clone stamp tool, to frequency separation where you work on Texture and skin tone/Colour separately - https://photo.stackexchange.com/search?q=frequency+separation all the way to a high end Dodge and Burn https://photo.stackexchange.com/search?q=dodge+and+burn.

But for any of this post processing to work affectively, there will be a need for a solidly composed RAW Image which can be developed and enhanced and not just any ordinary image to be totally reconstructed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ First, let me start off by thanking you for such a detailed explanation. This was my attempt at making the same style of image, but it doesn’t quite get the same effect. Any critique that can get me to where I want to be? instagram.com/p/BqO593Jl-Uk \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ApertureLife Your image looks like it was taken in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is pretty much the hardest light imaginable, which is exactly the opposite of what you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – user29608
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 3:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is actually shot with two lights using shoot through umbrellas. One to camera left and right. Are you suggesting I need to soften the light source more with large modifiers? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 8:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ApertureLife Personally, I think that the background in your image doesn't fit if you want to follow the scheme of your sample posts in the OP, which all look very dark-ish to me. Other than that I think your light is not only too direct but also a bit too bright. (That's again if you want the darker kinda feeling the pics in your OP have too) If you play a bit with the background (I think a light in the background like in your OP's first picture would look amazing with this shot) and soften/darken the light a good bit I think it would be an amazing picture! \$\endgroup\$
    – confetti
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @confetti Thanks for the critique. I will definitely try underexposing the background more in the future to create that look. Also turn down the lights a little as well to make it less harsh. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 16:32

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