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soft and dreamy

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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Comments

  1. OK, Carolyn! I set up a spot on a window sill upstairs. I have used it before, but I think it will have to be my little still life studio when I’m looking for “soft and dreamy”! I will tag you in stories when I post some there! 🙂 Thanks for the tips! What settings do you use? I usually put mine on aperture priority, but I had to put the ISO pretty high. Any tips on camera settings? 🙂

    • Yay Kelly! I’m excited! I’ll be watching for the tags. I’m going to do another post and go into more detail, but for now, I use aperture priority a lot but also use manual. For this shot, I used av for sure. My camera settings were 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640. While editing in Lightroom, in the Lens Corrections section, I click Enable Profile Corrections, That adds a bit more light. And I use Noise Reduction in the detail section at about 18 or so.. Can’t wait to see yours!

I'd love to hear your thoughts ...

I am so thrilled

I am so thrilled to have worked with Carolyn to find perfect local pictures to have hang on the walls...

Angela McKee

General Manager Best Western Plus Black Oak

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2018-08-15T05:08:35-07:00

Angela McKee

General Manager Best Western Plus Black Oak

I am so thrilled to have worked with Carolyn to find perfect local pictures to have hang on the walls of our newly remodeled King Spa Suite.

She has a gift …

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Rhadonda Sedgwick

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2019-09-26T18:13:48-07:00

Rhadonda Sedgwick

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Carolyn has such a beautiful style, simple yet elegant. She has a gift for arranging items and capturing just the right light! She is a sweet and talented soul and her still life photography and work speaks for itself!! Gorgeous!

She has become an amazing teacher of photography

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Debra Miller Still Life Photographer

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2019-09-28T11:07:32-07:00

Debra Miller Still Life Photographer

Carolyn has a keen eye for how to compose still life set-ups, using lighting to enhance the scene she is displaying.

Her eye for beauty is exceptional!

Carolyn's work is so pleasing! Her eye for beauty in nature as well as in still life is exceptional!
Still Life
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2019-09-28T11:15:27-07:00
Carolyn's work is so pleasing! Her eye for beauty in nature as well as in still life is exceptional!

She is extraordinarily talented and has a beautiful heart as well.

Her ability to create elegant, serene imagery by marrying both feminine and rustic elements is truly a gift.

Sandi Sutton, Editor The Joyful Life Magazine

Still Life
5
2019-09-29T18:09:06-07:00

Sandi Sutton, Editor The Joyful Life Magazine

Her ability to create elegant, serene imagery by marrying both feminine and rustic elements is truly a gift.
5
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