In a competitive field such as photography it’s important to stay on top of visual trends. Most photographers have a unique style that helps them stand out, but it can be difficult to find the right aesthetic for you. One of the most popular editing techniques to consider is dreamy photography.
You may have noticed the style pop up in your social feeds. Hazy photos with the power to make you feel like you’re tucked in tight in bed, lost in the land of nod.
If you’re wondering how to achieve the dreamy effect in photos or you’re just curious about dreamy photography in general, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re starting out as a photographer, trying to find your aesthetic, or you’ve been in the business for years, dreamy photography is an aesthetic to explore. This guide will help you get started on your journey of capturing the best dreamy pictures.
What Is Ethereal Photography?
What exactly is dreamy photography? Ethereal, or dreamy photography is a trendy style that focuses on soft dream-like aesthetics. Capturing these types of photos can be difficult but it’s still fun to attempt. The true essence of ethereal photography is often added in post-production photo editing.
Hazy and blurry effects are simple hacks that’ll make your photos feel like they’re straight out of a fairytale. You can also consider adding soft pinks, greys, or purple-tinted filters for dreamy pictures. Later, we’ll show you how post-production editing in Picsart can help with that.
What Is Soft Photography?
Soft photography is similar to dreamy photography. Both focus on hazy and out-of-focus effects in order to replicate the feeling of being in a dream. Soft photography tends to make the viewer feel relaxed and nostalgic. You’ll notice that a lot of these photos often have blurred out details and soft color palettes.
Soft photography is popular in wedding photography, couples photography, and romantic photoshoots. True love often feels like a dream and soft photography aims to capture that spirit. In order to achieve the soft photo look some photographers invest thousands of dollars in specific equipment. But there are other ways to get the look.
How Do Photographers Get That Soft Look?
Soft photography may seem easy, but there are some important tips to bear in mind in order to achieve the soft dreamy look in your images.
Lens filters are one of the easiest methods to achieve the hazy, soft look. There are a lot of specialized lens filters that can make your job easier on the set of a photoshoot. The downside to lens filters is their high price. However, there are also some homemade alternatives to lens filters when shooting.
You’ll easily find DIY filter tutorials online that utilize supplies that you likely already have at home. Cling film and tape, for instance. Alternatively, you can add in the effect in post-production editing.
Whether you blur the background or foreground details, this photo editing trick helps achieve a dreamy aesthetic. And you can easily recreate it whether you’re using an expensive camera or a smartphone.
If you have a separate camera, all you’ll need to do is use a large aperture. This will help to separate the subject of your photo from the background by blurring it. Not only will the blur effect help people focus on the model of your photo, but also make the overall composition feel more ethereal.
If you’re shooting on a smartphone you’ll either need to switch to portrait mode for a softly blurred background or achieve a heavier blur effect through editing. You can do this in Picsart using the Blur tool. This will give you more control over your end result and the exact level of soft blur.
Natural and artificial lighting can both be great for soft photography when used correctly. When it comes to natural lighting, the key is timing. The best time to take dreamy photos is during golden hour with the sunrise or a sunset. Both are especially great if you’re shooting outside and can capture the soft gold beams caressing everything in sight.
With artificial lighting, you can utilize colorful lights to get a fairytale-like look or use white twinkle lights in the background to achieve a bokeh effect. Artificial lights are also great when you’re shooting portraits, as they can help to soften up features.
Even if you’re not good at editing or don’t have expensive equipment, you can always make up for it with a location for your photoshoot. Some places naturally lend themselves to dreamy photography. Forests and fields are absolutely perfect. The overall color scheme of the vegetation and the peaceful nature of it all will lend an ethereal feel to your photos. Don’t have a wooded forest nearby? Substitute it with a neighborhood park. As long as your photos have an element of nature and the right filtering, you’ll get a dreamy photo effect.
Best Types of Photos for Dreamy Photography
Wondering how to make your photos dreamy? Start with a solid original photo. While dreamy photography has no hard rules, it can be quite difficult to get successful results as a beginner. What professionals don’t often tell you is that there are certain types of photos that simply work better for dreamy photography. Experiment with any type of photo, of course, but start with the classics before moving towards more advanced styles of dreamy pictures.
Try out these photo types guaranteed to make your photos look ethereal:
Portraits are great for dreamy photos as they offer a lot of freedom to experiment. You can either go with the more natural route with a soft blur or choose to go absolutely wild with brushes, fairy wings, twinkle lights, and more. Both routes make for amazing results. You can find a model or use a self-timer to become your own model for dreamy portraits. Next, think about the theme and choose makeup and accessories that’ll complement it.
Macro photos are an amazing way to take your viewers on a journey to an otherworldly fantasy. In macro photography, you photograph a small subject up close. By playing around with the sense of scale, you can make even the most ordinary things seem ethereal. Play around with props and change the background in order to push your macro photos further into the dreamy, borderline-surreal realm. Animals, flowers, and insects are great subjects for these kinds of photos.
Fine Art Photography
Fine art photography doesn’t have any definite rules. It’s a medium for creative expression, conveying emotion or ideas. Instead of focusing on documenting the objective reality, use the lens of your camera to express an emotion or a specific message. Don’t be afraid to experiment and to play against the rules of traditional photography. Only your imagination should be your limit.
Design Ideas for Dreamy Pictures
If you don’t want to spend time and effort on photoshoots, don’t worry. You can still create dreamy photos easily. You just need a little editing and a lot of imagination.
Here are some easy dreamy design ideas to get you started:
You’ve probably seen this trendy editing style on your social feeds, combining two or more photos to create dreamy pictures. They’re called double exposure edits and they’re so easy to achieve. In photography, double exposure is the combination of two or more exposures to create a single image, however, you can easily recreate this effect in Picsart. Just follow this double exposure tutorial.
If there’s one thing all dreams have in common it’s that unmistakable hazy atmosphere. To recreate this in your photography, you can either use a specialized lens filter or blur out certain parts of your photo during the editing process. Soften up any sharp details in order to take your dreamy photos to the next level.
The best part about photo editing is that there are no limits to what you can create. This is exactly why it’s the perfect medium to bring dreams into reality. For example, you can take a beautiful photo of clouds and combine it with a photo of yourself in order to make it seem like you’re walking on clouds. In order to help tie together the final image, add a filter that brings both the base photo and the stickers together.
How to Get the Dreamy Effect in Photos
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just fooling around with dreamy photography, editing software can be a complete gamechanger. Here’s how to get the dreamy effect in photos using Picsart:
On the Web
1. Open the Picsart Web Editor and click on New Project to start.
2. From the left-hand panel, choose the Uploads tool and click on the photo you want to edit.
3. Scroll down to the Stickers tool, type ‘clouds’ into the search bar and select the one you like best. You can duplicate the effect of the cloud sticker on the canvas by clicking on the editing panel above.
4. Edit the appearance of your dreamy cloud background by clicking on the Blend tool in the Adjust panel and choosing how hard or soft you’d like it to look.
5. Make any final adjustments to your stickers, such as the opacity, brightness, shadows, and more.
6. When you’re finished designing, click on the Export button to download and save your work.
On the App
1. Open the Picsart App and tap the plus button in the middle to start a new edit.
2. Choose a photo from your photo gallery or from the Picsart stock libraries.
3. From the panel at the bottom of the screen, tap on the Tools button to explore ways to Crop, Enhance, Adjust your image, and more.
4. You can either tap on the FX tool to explore a range of filters and effects that will help achieve the dreamy aesthetic, or you can replicate the above steps for web by adding suitable Stickers and duplicating and editing them as required.
5. When you’re finished creating the aesthetic you need, tap on Apply and save or post your work to the Picsart community.
Picsart is a full ecosystem of free-to-use content, powerful tools, and creator inspiration. With a billion downloads and more than 150 million monthly active creators, Picsart is the world’s largest creative platform. Picsart has collaborated with major artists and brands like BLACKPINK, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, Sanrio: Hello Kitty, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app or start editing on web today to enhance your photos and videos with thousands of quick and easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity and upgrade to Gold for premium perks!