I'm using a 24-70mm F2.8 lens on my D700. While I very much appreciate the sharp images this camera and lens produce, I find that, at times, portrait shots have too much detail. Sometimes I would like to shoot portraits that do not show every line, hair, or blemish on the skin. Is there a setting on the D700 that will soften images like these? Is there anything in post production retouch that I can use to soften an image I've already taken. I can't find anything in the manual or in the camera.
If there isn't any way to do this in the camera, which would be my preference, I've recently purchased Photoshop CS3 but know nothing about it. I imagine what I'm trying to accomplish can be done in Photoshop...it almost should be illegal what you can do with Photoshop. Can any of you give me some tips on how to soften an image using PS CS3? Thanks in advance for your help.
I might add --duplicate your layer and apply the filter to the new layer and use the layer opacity control to fine tune the effect. You can also play with the layer blending mode. You can find many tutorials on the web for touching up portraits. Following some of them with your own images should give you a good feel for what can be done.
I use PSCS3 a lot and know how to use it well, but I purchased Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 as a filter plug-in to be ideal for portrait work. They have two particular filters, dynamic skin and a softner that you can use plus the software gives you the option of using their filters as a masked layer where you can paint or erase as much or little of the filter you need in addition the use of the opacity slider. I can use PSCS3 directly to do this as well, but the time savings using Nik is well worth it. Just a thought.
With the possible exception of the original formula 43-86mm f/3.5 or the 90mm f/4.8 from the "fun fun lens set," I doubt you'll find a Nikkor soft enough to blur out blemishes. Traditional portrait lenses like the 105mm f/2.5 were (and are) quite sharp.
One can use softening or difussing filters of varying types, but the downside to such filters is often loss of wanted detail in the eyes. Digital post-processing as described above is usually a better solution.
The other "old-school" solution to consider is cosmetics. Not only does it work, but it allows more immediate feedback than postprocessing.
Visit us at Photokina, Cologne Germany, September 23rd-28th 2008 We're in Hall 2.1, Booth E014