How to make pictures "soft"?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by photogirl, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. photogirl
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    photogirl New Member

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    Hi, this is a daft beginner's question (forgive me), but I've noticed something while perusing some people's photographs on various websites or blogs and watching films. Some pictures are harsh, with strong edges, gritty (but not grainy...just like pictures that have a harsh feeling about them). Then there are pictures like these:

    http://tinypic.com/jaw4y0.jpg
    http://tinypic.com/jawe34.jpg

    I'll try to explain this the best I can. It's sort of dreamy, and the pics are soft and bright. The quality found in an ultra modern hotel with white and metallic everything (okay, that probably didn't make sense). In movies (typically those set in England, for example Woody Allen's new "Match Point"), the atmosphere feels so soft and inviting like in the two photos above. Any tips on the best ways to achieve this? Is it the natural overcast weather? Is it created lighting? :) Camera set-up? Any insight is appreciated. And if anyone can point out any literature devoted to this, that'd be great. Thank you. :)
  2. Digital Matt
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    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Looks like window light, and shallow depth of field. Basically, very diffuse, "soft" lighting.
  3. photoboy15
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    photoboy15 New Member

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    Seconded.
  4. Polygon
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    Polygon New Member

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    A little digital cheating can also increase the effect slightly
  5. Krim
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    Krim New Member

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    I hope you're not suggestiong that we get nothing but overcast weather over here :D :D Only kidding, i suppose we do get a fair bit...

    but your spot on really, its soft light, either daylight (windowlight) diffused through clouds, or artificial light diffused (softened) through a softbox/screen. you can achieve really soft light on a small scale just by putting tissue paper or even plain white paper in front of your light source, whether it be a flash, window, spotlight etc, you can even use a desk lamp.

    Krim

    :wink:
  6. photogirl
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    photogirl New Member

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    Thanks. When you're talking about a desk lamp, should I take the shade off? Put the paper over the shade? Over the bulb? Thanks.
  7. Alexandra
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    Alexandra New Member

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    what i do to soften pics digitally is simply removing the noise. But there's usually a "soften" tool in editing softwears...
    For film, as matt said: diffuse lighting.

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