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Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

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  • Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

    So I love shooting using only natural light indoors, but I can't quite figure out how to achieve this particular type of grainy, soft, desaturated look.

    Any thoughts on the right steps?

  • #2
    Re: Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

    diffuse indirect lighting (mainly backlit. fill, if any, either with reflectors or a light bounced off a ceiling or wall), limited depth of field, high ISO.


    • #3
      Re: Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

      I'd say that some of this comes from the camera. The graininess possibly comes from having to shoot at a higher ISO because diffused window light isn't all that bright. It's all about finding the balance of light between your light source and your subject. The softness and the desaturation could be a result of the lens flare from shooting into your light source.
      If you're anything like me, you hate blown highlights and blocked up shadows ... but with a look like this, you kinda just have to forget the rules and do what makes the photo feel right. If that means losing the edge of your subjects skin and it bleeding to the background, then that's what you've got to do.

      As for retouching, I've got a few little tricks that you may want to try with this look.
      First thing is to put a B&W adjustment layer on top of it, make a nice B&W conversion, then pull the opacity way down ... for me it's usually about 15-25%. This wil desaturate it slightly and also change the tonality of specific colors. If the photo isn't grainy enough, create a new layer and set the blending mode to overlay or softlight, fill with 50% neutral gray. Then on that layer use the 'add noise' filter, monochrome, gaussian, around 10-15% depending on the photo. Then add a .5 pixel gaussian blur to the noise layer. Adjust opacity to taste.

      Good luck, and if all else fails .... just keep shooting and experimenting!


      • #4
        Re: Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

        I would add this to the above description:
        Remeber to overexpose like hell. Shoot backlit - against the window - and make sure the background is completely washed out. No reflectors! Then you get a milky result. You'll have to add a lot of contrast in post to bring blacks back. In LR you could simply move the black slider - more than you think!


        • #5
          Re: Soft Desaturated Grainy Image w/ Natural Light

          This appears to me to be back lit, with light wrapping around the subject and maybe some of it bounced back in to provide some illumination. Then just overexpose either in camera or in post slighty... Probably both...


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