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Soft Focus Photography
As a photographer you must capture the exact moment, and that’s not always easy. If your subject is moving around, or not paying you much attention, you’re going to miss the shot. In order to get the best results you must be able to freeze time and the best way to achieve this is to use a shutter speed of 1/1000 second.
When you’re taking a portrait photograph you must make sure that your subject is looking straight at the camera lens. This is one of the reasons why your photographer might ask you to tilt your head slightly. If your subject is facing the same direction as you and is relaxed, then you will not need to tilt your head. It is a good idea to hold a hand close to your cheek or chin as it will stop your mouth from opening too wide, which can look unnatural.
The other reason that your photographer might ask you to tilt your head slightly is because the light source in the room will change and that will mean that the shadow areas will become lighter. It’s easier to adjust the light by changing the angle of your head. Once you have the image focused and the shutter speed set, then you will need to make sure that your subject has a soft, blurred look.
In order to achieve this look you should blur the background in the image and soften the lines in the face. Blur can be achieved with a large aperture (small f-stop) which lets more light into the camera. This is usually done with a large aperture lens.
You can blur the background by shooting through the bottom of the frame. However, this can also blur your subject, making it look as though it’s moving. A solution is to shoot with a lens that focuses close to the camera. This will make sure that the background is blurred but the subject will not be blurred. This is called ‘short focal length’, which means that the lens is close to the subject. This will ensure that your subject is sharp but the background is blurry.
For a softer look, you can soften the lines in the face by blurring the background with a small aperture. It’s important to use a lens that is suited to your camera and apertures of 2.8 or smaller, because the larger the f-stop the more light is let into the camera.
Another way to soften the lines in your subject’s face is to focus on the eyes. This is usually achieved by using a wide aperture (large f-stop), and that is why most professional photographers use large f-stops.
The soft look can also be achieved by putting your camera into ‘shutter priority’. This means that you will only have to press the shutter button halfway and the camera will calculate the appropriate shutter speed to match the aperture you have selected.
The shutter speed will vary according to the light in the scene, the brightness of the subject and the contrast of the background. To prevent your subject looking as though he or she is running, you will need to use a low ISO setting. This will help to reduce noise in the image.
If your subject is moving and you want to freeze the action, you will need to use a fast shutter speed. This will allow the motion to be recorded. The minimum shutter speed for moving subjects will be 1/200 second.
To make sure that your image does not come out too bright, you can use a neutral density filter. This will help to balance the exposure of the different parts of the image. You will also need to experiment with different shutter speeds and aperture settings to get the right look.
If your subject is moving, you might find that it is better to take several shots. This will allow the image to be edited to make it look more natural. For example, you could take three images at three different shutter speeds, allowing you to combine the images into a single image.
Focus on the subject, not the camera.
A soft focus image is one where there is no sharp focus in parts of the picture, but it is all still in focus. When the object you are photographing is not in sharp focus, it gives a blurred effect. This gives a romantic, dreamy feel to your pictures. It can also be useful in landscape photography, when you want to make the foreground look distant.
Use a tripod.
If you are taking a picture indoors, a tripod is essential. It will steady your camera and keep your pictures in focus. If you are shooting outdoors, you will need a monopod. A monopod is a small tripod with just one leg and a head. It will be lightweight and easy to carry. If you don’t have either, you can improvise with a stick and a piece of cardboard.
Set the aperture and shutter speed.
Setting the correct aperture (f-stop) is critical when taking a picture. You need to set this to ensure that the subject is in focus. The f-stop controls how much light gets into the camera, so it controls the depth of field – the amount of the subject in focus. Too small an f-stop and your picture will be too dark. Too large an f-stop and you will lose detail. You can’t always control how fast your shutter is open. This is your exposure. Setting a high shutter speed will ensure that the picture isn’t blurred even if your subject moves.
Use a lens hood.
Lenses collect dust and dirt which can reduce the light entering the lens. To protect the front of your lens, you can use a lens hood. You can also buy lens filters which reduce the amount of light reaching the lens.
Taking a series of photos at different exposures and focusing between each shot will give you a range of different pictures with varying levels of blur. You can combine the images using software, to create a single image with different levels of blur.