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On photography and styling, part one

For online businesses, photos – and styling for photos – is absolutely key to success or failure.

Key.

I’ve been pretty bored with my photos lately.  I’ve never figured out the lighting in my living room since changing over to natural lightbulbs for my lighting kit.

I finally realized the reason is simple:  I’m missing a tree’s worth of branches from the oak tree that shaded my living room!  The light in my living room is so harsh now – I’ve struggled with photos since last Fall.

Natural light anywhere in my house is problematic.  Except for my kitchen window, where I shoot all of my button photos.  I can get great photos in the morning, afternoon and even in the evening.

My kitchen is terribly dark (that’s another story), but my front step is all white walls, which reflects all of the California sunshine right into my kitchen window.

I’ve had an image in my head for months and months about new photos for my hand knits (which includes knitting patterns).  I finally tried some test photos this afternoon and am cautiously optimistic!

I want to accomplish several things with my photos:  natural light, a sort of rustic romance, very editorial, with depth and texture.

I’ll talk more about styling in part two – I’m still experimenting!  I’d love to hear what you think so far.  I’ll be trying more photos with evening and then morning light in the same spot, and want to add a lavender bunch to the right of the straw hat.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Tim and/or Abby June 30, 2010, 10:08 PM

    "cautiously optimistic" it's that the truth! I've loved so many of my photos just to hate them a week later! 🙂

    Just wanted to say I read half of my business books. I've learned a few things and definitely have been encouraged too. Yay for me and reading!! 🙂 Have a great week!

  • Fringe June 30, 2010, 10:11 PM

    I really like what you've done so far, B. The texture of the scarflette here shows up beautifully! Your fine work is truly showcased in this style.

    Also, the button looks fantastic! Again, the texture and the color shows up in a most lovely way.

    Well done! xoxo

  • Brenda June 30, 2010, 10:18 PM

    Haha, Abby, that is SO true! Happens to me all the time. 🙂 YAY that you've been reading up! And for feeling encouraged! xoxo

    Thank you, Dennice! Your feedback means the world to me. 🙂 and xoxo

  • Sherry July 1, 2010, 12:20 PM

    Excellent shots. I had to shoot three black and white pieces this week and that was extremely challenging for me.

    xo

  • Summer July 1, 2010, 6:14 PM

    They look great Brenda! Pictures can be rough. I've found that whenever I start photographing something different in size/scale, it's a whole new world…lots of trial and error. And, yes, when I moved…I had to start over with how to photograph…every little change in light can drastically make a difference!

  • Brenda July 1, 2010, 7:10 PM

    Thank you, Sherry and Summer! I love black and white photos, Sherry, but have never intentionally shot them myself! YES on the light, Summer! I never used to understand my photographer friends' obsession with light … until I started taking photos. 🙂

  • Sharon July 3, 2010, 5:41 AM

    Brenda, I have always loved your scarf photos and think they are such a clever way to photograph long items. Your lighting has always been beautiful in products shots and I have wondered how you achieved it.

    The texture in the scarflette photo is lovely. The light and shadow quality, plus the addition of props, gives the photo a nice depth. I like seeing the corner of the picture frame, but feel like I want to reach into the picture and move the hat a little–don't know where exactly.

    You buttons photos are beautiful as always. Seeing this one makes me excited because I know some of your buttons are going to arrive here soon and I can't wait to see them!

    Lighting in my home is a real challenge, too. I've started playing with using large sheets of artist's velum and covering the windows where too much light comes in. Rice paper shades would work to soften the light as well.

    The velum also works well as a filter in front of the lights. (I use el cheapo light trees from Home Depot but splurge on high def Ott lights bulbs.) I hang a big 'ole sheet of velum on the front of the light tree and tape it here and there.

    The Ott bulbs don't get very hot and the vellum hasn't even gotten warm, so I don't think it would burn, but I do not leave the lights on unattended.

    Putting the vellum filter in front of the light source softens or eliminates hard shadows and diffuses the light. Still, there are times of day when I just cannot take a decent photo.

    Samba is sitting on my lap, and says to say "Hi!' to all your kitties.

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