Sunday, February 5, 2017

Creating Valentine Still-lifes

If you're stuck inside because of the winter weather,
have some fun inside creating
Valentine Still-Life Photos!

I love to invite my photography buddies to my house
for a Still-Life PARTY!

We all bring stuff we have around the house, found
at a thrift store, plus any other confections we can find.

I lay out all the goodies on my kitchen counters.

I set up shooting stations by several
windows for natural light.

I like to use various fabrics, blankets
and table linens as backgrounds.

Here's my friend Terri laying out her still-life
on my rose fabric.  I bought a yard of it at the fabric store.

The fabric adds texture in the background.

Terri was going for a very simple look against white!

SO many ways to use a white poster board and props
you have around the house!

You will find a ton of fun uses for these simple white background photos.

You can use them for greeting cards, thank you cards, or invitations.
Add a sentiment and share it on social media.

I had pink peppermint ice cream in the freezer 
so we scooped some of that into a champagne glass!

We seem to love FOOD still-life's best...ha! ha!

Terri thought of hot-gluing the heart candy to the end of the colorful straws.

Speaking of champagne..we put neon pink food coloring gel into
water to create this drink.  I chipped a corner off of an Alka-Seltzer
to give it some "champagne" bubbles, but it doesn't really show up in the photo.

We were laughing so hard at our gymnastics trying to capture the natural light!

We went all out for this baking set-up.  Terri found the adorable vintage
rolling pins at Target for just $5 each which sparked this idea.

I bought the Pillsbury sugar cookie dough to make it easy.

Yes, we were standing on the kitchen counter to get our shots!!!

I think they are SOOOOO cute!

The adorable decorated heart cookies are magnets I found at Goodwill!

This sparked the idea for my Vintage VALentine shoot!

We had about an inch of snow on my snow table, so I snapped this:

I cover a card table with a plastic tablecloth and keep it on my back porch
all winter to collect snow to use for still-life photos!

We also had a Christmas Still-Life Party
where the five inches of snow on my back porch made for some 
great still-life photos!

The table makes it simple to set up photos in the snow!

Hopefully this will inspire you to try some Valentine or winter
still-life photography of your own.

Your friends will love to see your fine work on social media
such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!


Vintage VALentine 2017

Our Vintage VALentine shoot for 2017 was sparked by a
baking set-up we created for our Valentine Still-Life Party.

It looked so vintage, I KNEW Vintage Val must wear the pretty
pink floral apron I found years ago in a boutique while on vacation.

I placed my large white board behind her in my kitchen
and later added the FAB vintage PINK kitchen!

The pink vintage mixing bowl is from a thrift shop and
the wonderful pink rolling pin is from Target!

My Vintage Val shoots take careful planning and attention to details.

No way was I going to mix up a batch of cookies.
I simply bought a few rolls of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough!

I baked a batch of heart-shaped cookies the night before the shoot and
my hubby wanted to eat my props...ha ha!!

I LOVE the pink mixer in the background! 

We shot the cookie decorating photos at my kitchen table
with the white board behind her so I could add vintage wallpaper.

Of course, Vintage Val had a romantic Valentine's date planned
that evening.  Here, she is cozied up by the fire waiting for
her date to arrive!

These photos were a lovely challenge!

I photographed them by the fireplace in my family room
at about 4:30 pm when it was getting dark outside.

The only light in the room was those few small candles on the table,
and from a 3-bulb lamp I placed
across the room to illuminate her face!

I was going for a rich, warm, golden tone.

I added the flames in the fireplace and
 resulting glow in photoshop!

This scene idea was sparked when a neighbor bought this vintage
red dress from an online shop in China.
When the dress arrived it looked sadly cheap
and was tiny.  She asked if I'd like it for Vintage Val.

Fortunately, it photographed beautifully in
the warm glow setting!

The door bell rings!

He's here...


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Light Painting

Have you ever struggled to light a still life photograph?

Studio lights and flash often create harsh shadows where you don't
want them.

Look at the photo above.  The light is soft and wraps around
the subjects like natural light from a window.

Would you believe this was shot in my pitch black basement?
   I lit this with a technique called
Light Painting.

The light was "painted on" with a flashlight!

I show you how to do this technique in my 

But I wanted to share more of my light painting photos to inspire you.

With light painting, you get to choose exactly 
where the light falls on your subject creating the mood you desire!

                             I love to do light painting when I want to create a fine art photo
to hang on the wall.  It makes the photo look like a beautiful painting.

I can make this photo quite personal by using items
that have meaning to me.

The yellow floral pitcher in this next photo sits on my family room mantel.

I used it to create that still life and hung it over my fireplace!

It's highly personal because the pitcher in the photo is
right there on the mantel!

You never have to search for artwork to match a room!
Just light paint a still life with items from that room!

This photo and pitcher are quite a talking point when people enter my family room.
The colors in the artwork match the room because
the items in the artwork are FROM that room!

This photo was used in the Hallmark Christmas movie "Magic Stocking"!
A photo I created in my basement using
a pitcher from my mantel looks like fine art on the wall in a movie set!

I wanted to create a beautiful fine art photo for my daughter's dining room,
so I photographed her turquoise pitcher.

This photos was also used in the "Magic Stocking" movie set!!!

Here's another light painting I created for my daughter's kitchen
 using her great aunt's antique bowl.

This photo was used in the Hallmark Christmas movie "December Bride"!

You can really create some masterpiece artwork using items you
already have around the house and creatively painting them with light!

You can create elaborate scenes...try adding a candle for extra glow!

Or keep it simple:

I always edit my photos to perfect the look, often adding textures
to make them look more like paintings.

In this next series of photos, I set up on our ping-pong table in the basement.

At the far end of the table, I strung some pink Christmas lights from my
white tri-fold board I bought at the craft store.

I set up my still life at the other end of the table
far enough away to create bokeh with the lights in the background.

I then used the light painting technique to light the still life.

Setting your still life on a piece of glass will
reflect light, and in this case, the pretty bokeh!

You'll have to play with your camera settings, but I use my
50mm f1.4 lens and start with:

f2.8  (The larger the aperture the better the bokeh!)
2-sec. shutter (Because there is already a lot of light from the string lights.)
ISO- 100

Experiment with items further back that will blur into art.

Add more items.

I really love sparkly bokeh in the background!

Have fun experimenting with this highly creative
technique while you're stuck indoors during the dreary winter months!