An adorable little cast iron teapot, pretty and tiny pink flowers, scissors and an old-fashioned piece of fabric. Anyone can pick up a camera and snap off some pictures. With a good camera, they can turn out great even without any training. You can even get a soft and dreamy shot without training. But knowing how to do that on purpose is key.
When I first started doing photography back before it was my business the good photos were good on accident. I can remember looking at some of them and just thinking to myself ‘how did I do that?’ I really wanted to learn how! So, today I’m going to give you a few tips on getting that soft and dreamy look to your photos.
I’m shooting with my Canon 5d Mark IV and my Canon 50mm 1.4 with the aperture set wide open at 1.4 and I’m standing about two feet away from my subject. When I do still life, I pretty much always use my 50mm and stand as close as I can get to my subject.
Once you pick your props, you want to select a location with good light. I’ve chosen window light. In fact, I pretty much always choose window light. In my photo, the background is a white foam core board on the left and underneath my props and the window to the right. I set my props just far enough away from the background so it doesn’t come out sharp. This window is south facing and it is just about 5 p.m., so my light is coming in almost to the front of the image, but not quite. You can see that there’s more light on the right side of the flowers and more shadowing to the left.
I decide which item on want to be the main point of focus. In this case it’s the teapot. But because the teapot is lined up with the flowers and the cloth, some of them are also at the sharpest point. And then I decide on the angle. I try out different things … being level with the props, a little above them or kind of shooting down. As I’m trying out what looks best, I’m also looking for what happens with the depth of field and the light because those change as I change positions. So, I take several shots and different angles knowing I might like different ones for different purposes. In this case, you see I took the shot from a slight angle above and it gave the perfect depth of field. Part of the flowers, the cloth, the board and the window are blurred which give that soft and dreamy look.
If you’d like to try this yourself, maybe try doing something very similar to my set up … just copy my shot and see what you come up with. Once you do, I’d love to see what you came up with.
Please let me know if you have other questions! 🙂
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