A Little Fall Still Life Photography

The good, the random, and the fun....

November is upon us, how did that happen? 

I have been foraging in the garden over the last few months and working on some still life photography. Although it is fun to have neat props, I also enjoy the challenge of finding objects in nature to use in my still life photography. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

Prop tips...

~ Think outside of the box. I actually use the spoons above for decoration in my home. They used to be tied together with a length of string. I just snipped it and then had several different props to use. Look around your house for props, you'll be amazed what you find. 

~ When you find props in nature do not trow them away when you are done with them. Dry them and save them for a later use. 

~ Think layers with your props. Layers bring depth to your shots, and texture as well. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

Background tips...

~ My favorite background right now is a set of wooden slats I found at a hobby and craft store. I have thought about nailing them all together, but I like to arrange the colors of each slat according to what I am shooting. 

~ I am on the search for a neat piece of slate to use for a backdrop. Slate is really useful for food shots, just make sure when you purchase a piece it if food grade. You know, so that you can eat the yummies you are taking pictures of later. 

~ I recently had a discussion, in a still life photography group I belong to, about using old cookie sheets for backdrops. I am also on the lookout for those as well. I want ones that are nicely patinated from years of use. 

~My favorite backdrops for front on shots are white and black painters canvas boards. I found a pack of two, for 14 dollars, at a hobby store. I use clamps to hold them tightly together when I need a larger span for the background, or when I want to create a corner to shoot in. 

~ I also use foam boards, and then usually drape them with different scarves (that I picked up cheaply) and cut in half. They tend to be the perfect length without a ton of left over fabric to worry about. Plus, they are light and I usually do not need a clamp them to hold them in place. 

~ Cheesecloth is often a go-too background cloth for me. If you have a hardware store near you, check it out. Usually you can find cheesecloth for super cheap there. A hardware store is also a great place to look for tile pieces, that are on sale, that can be used for backdrops as well. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography
Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography
Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

Life Thru the Lens 14/52.... back to still life, pursuing your photography passion

I love still life photography. I find pause in the creative nature of building props to compose a story in photo. Over the last few months my still photography has stagnated for several reasons... lighting, having all my props stored in a bin, lack of creativity, lack of inspiration. I have found, in our transition, that I am a creature who is invigorated by having all my things around me. Creativity comes as I pass a prop and the light is splashed across it so softly that I must capture it, then and there. Our circumstances will change, and eventually we will be in our own home, but until then I am finding that I have to pursue still life photography. Pursuing something is not always bad. Matter of fact, I feel as though I grow more in my art if I have to actively pursue it. 

Questions Answered:

Q. Where do you find your backgrounds?

A. At craft stores, and often enough hardware stores. I found cheese cloth extremely cheap at a hardware store. It comes in larges pieces, which is fantastic for backgrounds of for mingling among my props for texture. 

Q. Where do you find your props.

A. Everywhere, but I love the dollar aisle at a certain retail chain with a huge target of a sign. {Wink, Wink} I also love junk stores and antique stores. I have found most of my linens at junk stores. Buyer beware, if the tag is pinned to the cloth be sure to take it off yourself so that the owner of the store does not rip it off. Sigh. 

Q. What lens do you use.

A. My 50mm. I have tried other lenses, but I always come back to my 50mm 1.8. 

WHAT ARE YOU ACTIVELY PURSUING IN YOUR LIFE? Tell me about it in the comments. 

Beauty Surround Us | Fine Art | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography


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Life Thru the Lens 49/52.... It's Christmas cookie time

Because of our big transition in life, we have moved in with my mother-in-law for a bit. Which, we are super grateful for. However, the light in her house is not especially grand for still life photography. I know I am not the only person who struggles with this issue, so I thought I'd give you a few tips on what I learned through my first photo session since moving. 

I started this shoot in a tiny little corner of the kitchen by the back door, with a light background. It wasn't enough room; I spilled my entire jar of milk trying to hold my diffuser over the shot so that the cake plate would not have so many highlights reflected on it. And, the light was not what I was looking for, especially with the light background. I changed the set up to a dark and moody shot, but still was not pleased with the end result. 

1/60 at f3.2 ISO 400 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~Front to back composition. 

~The colors and the props.

~The disheveled look.

Things I do not like...

~The lighting, there is no interest in the lighting.

~It's missing something, prop wise.

So, I moved the entire shot to the dinning room table. The problem with the dinning room table is that the light comes in at an angle from the hall window, which is not accessible because the stairs run under it. The light also tends to be harsh, and casts dramatic shadows. If I could defuse the light from the window it would not be an issue, but since I cannot reach it I have to work with what I have. I set up a dark and moody backdrop with part of the light from the window cut off from my subject to emphasis the harsh shadows. 

1/100 at f3.5 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 280 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~ The lighting. I really like how the shadows created interest in the props. 

~ I added more props, including a small cutting board propped up on my background. Which brought depth to the shot and takes your eye all the way through the shot. 

~ I also added a stack of plates and took the mixing bowl out. I think this is a better use of my props, and allows for the focus to be more centered on the cookie cutters, and the cookies on the plate stand. 

Things I do not like...

~ I love the lightening, but I do know that it is a little harsh, and could cause some clipping if it were to be printed. 

So, I rearranged my tripod, and camera, for a top down shot. 

1/200 at F4.0 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 1100 with a 50mm

What I love about the shot... everything!  Photography is all about working with what you have... equipment, light, props, workspace, knowledge. Use what you have, (plus) build on what you know, (equals) growth in your abilities. 

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