How do you do that? Well... I practice. A lot. In the field, not in Photoshop.
I'm asked a good bit these days about how I process my images to get the look I do.
The truth is, I work as hard as I can to capture unusual, artistic nature images in-camera.
Yes, I do a little processing. The butterfly above has had a minimal amount of tonal and sharpening work done to him. I added a subtle vignette. But for the most part, this is what a Lensbaby Composer Pro can do for you in the field.
Using the Lensbaby tilt-and-shift composer and interchangeable optics is still a work-in-progress for me.
I do much better with my Velvet 85--or any of their systems where you don't bend the lens mount to selectively focus on the area you don't want to be blurred (like the Scout and the Spark).
I'd like to see this butterfly (and many of the flowers I shot that day) more in focus in the areas I want focus. I like how the edges of the butterfly are distorted (to the left of the frame). I'd like to have had the edges of the flower, to the right, melting away as well.
I've mastered handling the middle ground and background. Close focusing and intentionally placing the blur of the lens are another level of complexity. I'll need more practice to better adapt in the field to changing conditions and subjects.
Tilting and shifting can be a frustrating learning curve. But I'll get there. I'm IN. How amazing is a lens that helps you be this creative, in camera, while you're shooting?!
The effect, even this not-quite-what-I-wanted image, can be magical.
THIS, by the way, is the same image processed in Photoshop to give it a more "artistic" look.
I played withe radial blur tool and used a layer mask to return the detail to the part of the butterfly I wanted to keep shaper.
I like the result, but this is clearly not an in-the-field image.
To me, the original Lensbaby image looks real, though slightly fantastical.
Here are a few flowers, unprocessed, also shot with my Composer Pro and Sweet 35 optic.
These are RAW images simply saved as JPG.
Again, they're not executed well enough to be "final" images I'd show clients.
But they'll give you an idea of what I'm seeing, RAW, as I work.
And the kind of in-field effect a Lensbaby can offer.
I live for moments like these, when I stumble across a garden of wildflowers with enough depth to be an exciting practice project.
So I pull over, grab my lenses, select the one I think will work best, and get back to the blissful work of learning as I go...