39 : Pastels

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Soft and Sweet

 Photo by Shoot Along graduate Julianna Williams

Photo by Shoot Along graduate Julianna Williams

Definition of “pastel”: “Any of various pale or light colors”

This week we are turning to our softer side and concentrating on taking pictures with a light, airy palette. To achieve pastel images, try these methods:

1. Adjust your camera. A typical feature on most DSLRs is the ability to fine tune the vibrancy, saturation and brightness of your images as they are recorded onto your memory card. Changing the intensity of these settings will result in pictures which evoke the soft, sweet tenderness that goes hand-in-hand with childhood.

2. Choose light subject matter. Pastel imagery is best captured when your subject matter is not too vibrant. It's hard to make this style work when shooting intense colors in direct sunlight. Look instead for areas of diffuse light or bright shade and moments of calmness rather than motion.

3. Lighten in post-processing. You can make further adjustments to contrast and exposure using your favorite photo editing program. It is not necessary to use special programs --- usually just lightening and decreasing the saturation will do the trick!

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A Muted Palette


The pastel color range has less saturation and intensity. Pastels can be thought of as lightened versions of the standard color spectrum.

One Last Note…

Often, we tend to think predominantly of girls when we think of the pastel color palette, but don’t stop there! Boys and girls alike can be beautifully captured through pastels!

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Creative Prompts

  • Keep it simple this week. Practice shooting a simple object like a flower if you want to try a few experimental techniques before photographing your children or family.

  • Try capturing a child reading by a bright window where the light is soft and indirect.

  • Lay a light colored blanket on the floor in a bright room or outside in the shade and shoot from overhead (more about this technique coming soon!). The blanket will make a simple, clean background.


We’re Here for You!

As always, we look forward to seeing your images in the Facebook group! If you have never posted a picture, it's fine to start any time. The Facebook group is a positive, no-judgement zone. We also hope that reach out for advice or help if you need it!