I would love to give my photos a dreamy effect like this. I can see there's some clarity reduction; what, in terms of highlights, shadows, lights, and darks, would the lighting look like? For instance,

highlights up, lights down, shadows up, darks down


highlights up, lights down, shadows down, darks up.

Additionally, would there be a contrast reduction or exposure boost, too? Or would these above changes alone achieve this effect?


  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you assuming this look was achieved in post production? Why? I see nothing that couldn't have been achieved without any processing. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Aug 6, 2015 at 3:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might check the histogram for the whole image and also for specific sections to see if there was post-process manipulation (e.g. gaps in histogram). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6, 2015 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it was indeed just shot that way, would you have any thoughts on how to balance these variables in post, to achieve the effect? (And for that matter, any suggestions on how to achieve it in the first place?) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6, 2015 at 22:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of How do I give my photos the same dreamlike effect as this photographer? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Feb 17, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


My simple observation: It was a perfectly (evenly) overcast day, producing totally diffused light, with a wide tonal range sensor, and the exposure was metered so the limestone building near the model's head was neutral (18% gray). I don't see post processing as making a big difference in an image like this.


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