Monday, July 31

Petite Flowers

I recently found these pretty little flowers on Etsy and I just adore them.  

The background for these is an old crate that I have.  It is perfect for these pictures.  I love the light coming in this window (in my living room facing south).  So I experimented with things *grins*.

I used my fireplace for the background on these.  This little box I found at Ben Franklin crafts a long time ago.  The turquoise vase is from Hobby Lobby.

I couldn't resist adding this one just because I like it 😊

I recently discovered these backdrops from Mini Backdrops on Etsy.  They are fabulous.  There is no shine and they are really easy to work with.

I encourage you to look around you home for small pockets of light which will translate into beautiful photos.  Also, it's not necessary to buy props....I'm sure you already have all kinds of interesting things which will make stunning photographs.  Experiment and have fun!

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Monday, July 17

Searching for Light

Everyone would love to have ideal lighting for every photo session, especially if you are strictly a natural light photographer.  However, there are many situations where the lighting is not perfect....winter, rainy, harsh midday sun.  When used correctly, natural light indoors can be pleasing  and can also provide opportunity for some creative portraiture with contrast, shadows, and drama.  

Like any situation, do your research before you start photographing indoors. Many times the direction of the house, the position of the windows, along with the time of year plays an important part in the amount of light coming through. Is your house North-South facing or East-West? What are sunrise and sunset times where you live, or where you are going to be photographing? Does the room have a sunroof that lets in additional light? Light also changes depending on the time of day.  As light changes, so does the color of light. This directly affect the white balance (WB) of the image. If your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW use it, as white balance can then be adjusted in post-processing. If you really want to get it right in camera, experiment with the Kelvin scale.

The best source of natural indoor light is windows.  The closer you are to a window the more light you have to work with.  Also where you place your subject with also greatly affect the image.  There are three basic scenarios for using window light:  side light, front light and back light.

Side light:  you place your subject parallel to or at a slight angle to the window.
Back light:  you place your subject with their back to the window.   In this case, you meter for the subject and let the window area blow out.  You can also use a reflector to pop light back onto your subject.
Front light:  you place your subject facing the window and you are between your subject and the window.  This produces even light.

This is the first time I've photographed anything in my living room.  It was sunny and I really liked the light coming in on my lava lamp  *grins*.  

I really liked these shots and, as I am a photographer who likes to use textures, I added a little to the light in these.

Window light is awesome.  You can practice at home by placing a subject near and window and try to get as much variety as you can by moving the subject.  I hope this post will prompt you to explore the light in your home.

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Thursday, June 15

Developing Your Photographic Style

How do I find my own photographic style?  I've been asking this question for a while and I've been searching and studying and this is what I've come up with.

1.  Stop looking at everyone else.  Look around your house.  Your town.  Your family.  THERE is your inspiration.  You just haven’t seen it yet because you’re stalking someone else’s work.  You browse that “other blog” and you love it, but it makes you feel crummy about your own work.  Am I right?  Well, unsubscribe and be inspired somewhere else.

2.  Don't Copy.   Don’t copy someone else’s photography style.  Instead, take an IDEA and run with it.  Find what you like about that photography style and make it PART of your photography style.  

3.  Shoot daily.  If you shoot daily your photography style will emerge.  

4.  Learn the rules.  You NEED to know the proper technique and rules if you’re going to break them.  You have to know how to get proper white balance.  How to compose an image.  

5.  Think about what you want rather than what others want.  Shoot what makes YOU happy.  Only still life, go for it.  Only black and white, go for it.  Be yourself and make you happy with your photography.

So I took these tips and ran with it.  I've been looking over my photos from the beginning and I have discovered this about myself.   I enjoy still life photography....taking inanimate objects and "bringing them to life".  I also enjoy clean, simple styling.  And, I really like close up photography.  I adore shooting with my 35mm lens and I really like moody lighting.   

After discovering these things, I decided to explore the post-processing arena and decide what it was that I like there.  I process in Lightroom, and as I said, I like the moody lighting and I prefer a little moody processing to go along with that.  I've purchased TONS of presets and I've found that while these presets look good on someone else's photos, I don't particularly like them on mine.  Therefore, I worked to get a look of my own that I was satisfied with.  

So there you have my photography style.  How has your style developed? Have you noticed a big difference in the way you shoot or edit now, compared to where you were say, three years ago or even six months ago? Share your before and after photos in the comments section below, and any tips you might have for developing a personal photographic style.

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Sunday, March 12

Dying Cheesecloth

My friend Beverly Cazzell really started something when she asked Kim Klassen and Kyla Ferguson about some cheesecloth they had used in one of the photographs for The Studio.  Once the question was asked and the discussion that followed in our facebook group, I was hooked.  I HAD to have some colored cheesecloth.

Beverly dyed her cheesecloth of lovely shade of light and springy.  Once I saw her photos I was on a roll.  I bought some Dylon dye (available at Walmart, Michaels or Joann) and several packs of cheesecloth and away I went *grins*.

The Dylon dye was extremely easy to use and surprisingly not messy.  I used a glass bowl which I filled with hot water and added the dye.  I soaked the cheesecloth for about 10 minutes, rinsed and hung outside to dry.  It turned out so pretty.

I am going to also try my hand at dying this fabric with koolaid, tea, and maybe beet juice.  But that's for another day 😏

Now for some results:

The first one I did was this lovely shade of lavender (I used french lavender dylon hand fabric dye)

Next was this lovely yellow (sunflower yellow dylon).  It IS lovely but I used a little too much dye.  I was hoping for a much lighter shade of yellow.

Then I went for the pink (powder pink dylon).  It turned out exactly as I envisioned and I adore it.

Finally I did the blue (china blue dylon) and it, too, turned out exactly as I was hoping.

All in all, it was and interesting and fun afternoon.  As I said, the Dylon dye was so easy to use and no mess at all.  Also, I love the little extra "something" that the cheesecloth adds to a photograph.  Thanks so much to Beverly for the inspiration and push to do something creative.  I look forward to sharing my results of the next round.

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Monday, February 20

Processing Photos with Kim Klassen Presets

My friend Kim Klassen, founder of The Studio (where I love to hang out with some lovely new friends and learn about still life photography) has released her newest set of lightroom presets called Be Still Presets and Be Still Light Play.  I think these are some of Kim’s best presets and I fell in love with them the first time I used them.  They suit my moody style perfectly.

I process all of my photos in lightroom, unless I want to add text or do some major cloning which I do in photoshop.  Kim gave us a great tip about importing photos into lightroom.  I have made a default setting for all of the images coming from my Nikon D90 camera.  I start with a little noise reduction, lens correction and the adobe standard profile.  Then, the first steps I take when processing are the same with every photo.  I double check the white balance, then set the black and white points and highlights, and crop.

To set the black and white points and highlights, in the basic panel you hold down shift and double click on whites, blacks and highlights.  This gives me a decent place to start when processing.  I can either leave my photo at this or I can delve further into artistic processing.

Once I get to this point, Kim’s presets are pretty much one click and I’m done.  Here are a few examples of some of my favorite presets.

Kim has several preset collections which you can check out at her site:   Thanks for visiting today.

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