General Thoughts
Tulips in a Vase  © jj raia

Tulips in a Vase © jj raia

Friends of ours were over for dinner the other night and they were kind enough to bring us some tulips that were ready to pop open in a day or two. When they did I decided to try to photograph them in a makeshift studio. I placed a table by a window so the indirect light would come in from the left and placed a large blanket behind the flowers as a background, but far enough away to be out of focus. A piece of white foam core was placed to the right to reflect the light back into the shadows and another small piece placed below the vase to reflect back up into the water and glass. A polarizer was used to eliminate the reflections from the flowers and leaves. You can look through the viewfinder as you spin the polarizer to determine the point where the color shines through and the reflections are eliminated. After a few shots, I felt the background was too bright and competed with the flowers for attention, so I added a box to the left of the blanket to cut down the light falling on the background but not blocking the light for the flowers. Two images were used for this final shot; one in sharp focus and another slightly blurred, out of focus shot wide open to narrow the depth of field. Since all the shot were taken on a tripod, there was no problem in keeping the two in register. They were combined in Photoshop on separate layers with the blurred one being the top layer. By lowering the opacity of the blurred image, the sharp image behind begins to appear. The opacity can be adjusted to suit your own taste but I ended up at about 75% opacity. A little adjustment in Lightroom; mainly large amounts of negative clarity and positive noise reduction to eliminate any texture in the blanket, and a little dodging and burning in a few spots rounded out the post processing.



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