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I'm trying to recreate this image:

This is what I have so far:

The lighting doesn't look as soft and natural as the first picture. Lighting has always been that hurdle I can't jump across, but now it's starting to become more of an issue. Right now I am just using two emission planes for the light source.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzgDIjhDOu6EbGVhZEtHQ2d1V3M/view?usp=sharing

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    $\begingroup$ Work on the environment that surrounds your scene. If you look closely at your reference image you will find some clues: A large window with two panes is the main light source. One of the panes is brighter than the other. The there is some kind of wall on the opposite side of the room that is also receiving direct light, The flat background is not receiving as much light as the objects (or at least is not uniformly lit as in your 3D scene). If you haven't already, use the filmic view on the color management section and play with different looks, maybe a higher contrast would help you. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Sep 14 '17 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ In addition to what cegaton offered, they are using natural and artificial vignetting in the scene to make the subject pop. Your scene could use some added intensity to one of your light sources. As for "softness", the bigger the light source, the softer the shadows will be. $\endgroup$ – bertmoog Sep 14 '17 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ related: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/77336/… and blender.stackexchange.com/questions/44719/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton Sep 14 '17 at 17:36
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The reference image is a studio lit still life. There are two "Soft Boxes" camera left and a spot light on the background. Probably a black card camera right to prevent light from filling in the shadows. It appears a relatively long lens was used to compress the scene and emphasize the shallow depth of field.

Here is how I recreated the scene in Blender with a camera focal length of 150mm.

Scene

enter image description here

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