A Slice of Focus: Lessons for Photographing Plants Using Shallow Depth of Field

A Slice of Focus: Lessons for Photographing Plants Using Shallow Depth of Field
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@crystalbrindle A belated thank you for the comment on my article, Crystal. I am glad to hear that you found it helpful!

@Brent_Clark Thank you for the kind comment about my plant photos, Brent. I appreciate it! Unlike a lot of other kinds of nature photography, I find that photographing plants in this way takes a lot of experimentation and failures (I can take 300 frames of 30 to 40 different subjects in a session and come out with 3 to 5 decent photos, for example). Practicing in my old backyard was most helpful since I could take as much time as I wanted without the pressure of being around other people (like at a garden). Buying a bouquet of mixed flowers and photographing them around your house in mixed light for a few hours is another great way to learn what angles and approaches can work. Then, you can apply all these lessons in nature later. I hope you can find some success this summer!

@john3 Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed these photos. In general, I get the soft, pastel look by using the following super-simple techniques… First, I almost always expose to the right side of the histogram or brighten the exposure in processing for the light and bright feel. I also reduce the contrast (for example in Lightroom, I would move the lights and highlights sliders to the left and the blacks and shadows sliders to the right). I also sometimes reduce clarity. I almost always cool off the white balance because I prefer pinks and blues over reds and oranges. If there are dark spots, I will brighten them with a dodging layer or use the color painting technique I describe above. Most important: lighten the exposure and reduce contrast - nothing fancy! I hope this is helpful. If you have any follow-up questions, please let me know.

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