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This effect looks like smoke with a little blurring. There are many examples of this because it has been used in some erotic movies.

I don’t know if it’s a lens filter, a specific camera, a technique, or a type of film. How is this effect achieved?

example image 1 example image 2 example image 3

marked as duplicate by Michael C lens Aug 6 '18 at 4:01

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In the 70s that effect was called 'flu', and was made putting cellophane or similar in the front of the lens.

Some photographers used a plain filter with vaseline or even a piece of pantyhose.

  • 1
    Pantyhose will also make stars on the highlights. – Sherwood Botsford Mar 23 '18 at 21:46
  • 1
    The vaseline trick works well. If you left the centre of the filter clear then you could control the degree of blur with your iris. wide open = more blur. – Sherwood Botsford Mar 23 '18 at 21:47

You can do this easy enough in post-processing.
In Darktable the 'bloom' effect would give a similar result, in combination with suitable masks (to limit the area and strenght of the effect, like in the first image). I'm not using photoshop, so I can't give any details for that program.


This is a soft focus effect. As roetnig notes, the effect can be achieved by placing a diffusion filter, or other translucent material, in front of the lens.

  • I would recommend against using vaseline.
  • Different colors of sheer stocking materials can be used to modify the effect. This may have been the case in the sample images.
  • The effect may occur unintentionally when moving from a cold environment into a warm one when the lens fogs up from the humidity change.

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