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Beginner Photography: Color

Color! The possibilities for this topic are endless. I had grand ideas of what I wanted to do, but limited resources. I had visions of bold lipstick, bold nails and a white background. Unfortunately I don’t have a studio to work with and I was my own model, so that limited my ideas a bit. But I was reminded of a shot I took for my food¬†project of a clementine on a teal plate.¬†

I decided to work with the same color palette and more fruit. I painted my nails teal and found the most aesthetically pleasing clementine and lemon in our fruit bowl and took them into my back yard for the natural light. Harsh light is good for fruit because you want the specular highlights, not the flat light that you may want for portraits.

I shot in aperture priority with a low aperture to blur the background as well as I could, and took a bunch of shots of my hand holding the fruit. Some in front of the wood decking and some in front of the ivy. 

f/3.6, 1/3200th, ISO 200


f/3.6, 1/3200th, ISO 200


Next I wanted to shoot my lips in a bright color with the green background and teal nails. This was a bit more challenging, but I finally downloaded the Olympus app for my phone so that I could control my camera from in front of it. Compared to Canon and Nikon’s apps, this one is great. I was able to focus and shoot myself from my phone while my camera was on the tripod in front of me.

f/4.5, 1/800th, ISO 200


f/4.5, 1/640th, ISO 200


f/4.5, 1/800th, ISO 200


For all of these images I tweaked the colors so that they were more saturated and complementary to each other. I edit my skin a ton because it looked terrible, and lightened it a bit so the colors would pop more.

Chelsea has a great tutorial on changing colors in Photoshop here that might help you out, although I did all my edits in Lightroom:

Do these work for you to convey color? I think the fruit shots do for sure, but I’m not sure about the self portraits. This was a really fun project for me, and I’m feeling more inspired than I have in a while.¬†

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Beginner Photography: Still Life

YOU GUYS, photography is hard. This subject broke me. We don’t have a live show this week to base my blog off of, so I decided to do something “easy”, still life. Here’s a great video Chelsea made to teach you the basics:

I was sick this weekend and leaving the house was an impossibility, so I thought “hey, I have stuff! I can just do a still life!” But no. I think this project broke me.

We have no shortage of interesting looking objects in my house, and a ton that are meaningful, so that part didn’t seem so hard. What was hard was finding a backdrop and lighting. First I tried putting everything on a leather chair. But nope! Everything was slanted and cramped.¬†


Dark! Cramped!


Then I put everything on my dining room table, but that’s just silly because the background is a wall or my kid’s toys or the kitchen.


No, Siobhan. Why? So dark. Such hard overhead light.


Then, in a last ditch effort I used by bedroom rug, with a duvet as the backdrop. The lighting was better, natural light off to the left, dim lamp to the right, but the backdrop became the bane of my existence. It was so wrinkly. SO WRINKLY. I swapped out some of my original objects to a few that wouldn’t swallow the light (that dark wood and dark metal weren’t doing me any favors) and added some flowers and feathers to add a leading line back to the globe. But then I spent well over an hour trying to blur/smooth/blend the background so that it wouldn’t look so distractingly wrinkled. To no avail. So here, friends, is me giving up:


I just… ugh. I can’t even.

So there you have it: some old dirty stuff that represents my family? I’m sorry guys. Oof.

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Beginner Photography: Food

Hey guys! This week was a bit tough for me since we don’t have a live show coming up to base my project off of. But at the very last minute I got a suggestion from Chelsea to do food. We’ve done a few live shows on the topic, which you can see here and here as well as the awesome fast food challenge video with Toby and Christina here. So I used those as my basis for some quick food shots.

Remember, I’m using my Android phone for these shots, so I have no control over my settings. Luckily I’ll be getting a real camera soon, so I’ll eventually revisit these subjects to see how my technique and my gear have improved!

Luckily my husband is the cook in the house, so I just asked him to make dinner extra pretty. We were having kielbasa with french fries and salad. Not the most upscale of meals to capture, but colorful and delicious none the less.

First I decided to take a simple still life of a clementine on a plate. Our dishes are turquoise, so I thought it would be a nice complementary color scheme.

finalornage-2I used some hard natural light to get a dramatic shadow and some highlights on the skin.

Next up was dinner. 


The hard, overhead lighting was too hard. While the specular highlights are good, the reflections on the plate and the shadows are unappealing.


The close-up works a bit better. The kielbasa is in focus, the specular highlights are appealing, and look at those grill marks!

Now for dessert. Yogurt, berries and a fresh sprig of mint from the garden.


The setting wasn’t ideal, so I went for a closeup with a dutch tilt, filling the frame. The highlights and the color are pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Welp, I did my best and I ate well, that’s all you can ask for, really. Please, comment below and tell me what I could have done better. How would you have shot these dishes?