== Love Photography == Delight in Light ==

Friday 4 December 2009

The Essence of a Rose

The Warmth of the Rose

I was in a florist shop with my daughter (I was looking for some flowers to photograph for a competition that I was planning to enter) when we spotted this cottage-garden rose. It wasn't actually really what I had been looking for, but she was immediately smitten by it and begged me to buy it - and I have to confess that I didn't need much persuading!

I spent a bit of time exploring ways of photographing it that did it justice, and this shot was the one that I was most pleased with - rather than being a relatively straightforward "record" shot of the rose I feel that this one captures more of the essence of rose - its softness and delicate colours - by creating a dreamy, soft-focus image... Or maybe I'm just waffling on and it just a pretty picture!!??

I did do a bit of post-processing (as usual) to get the final version as you see it above. The remainder of this post gives a brief overview of what I did.


Us usual this picture was taken with my Canon 350D; Sigma 24-70 f2.8 lens - settings were: ISO100; f2.8; 1/200s (flash sync speed); manual exposure and focus modes; hand-held.

The lighting was from three flashes - one on camera (which also triggered the other two) and the other two off to each side - all three were pointed towards varying parts of the white ceiling to give a nice soft overall lighting. They were also set to overexpose a stop or two (can't remember the exact amount - sorry!).

In post processing, I was really just aiming to enhance the soft focus effect that already existed in the original photo.

  1. "Developed" the RAW image in DPP with the following changes to the out of camera settings:
    • Slight increase in exposure
    • Pic style: Faithful
    • Slight reduction (-1) in saturation
    • Sharpness: 0
  2. In Photoshop I first created a copy of the background layer, ran it through the High Pass filter (40px) and set it to Soft Light mode to strengthen the definition of the petals a little.
  3. I then created a merged copy of the result, and created two additional copies of the merged layer to enhance the soft focus effect:
    1. The first layer I blurred with Gaussian Blur at 30px and set the opacity to 50% (Normal mode)
    2. The second layer I blurred with Gaussian Blur at 60px and set the opacity to 25% (also Normal mode)

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