Fine Art Still Life

wordless wednesday

Something New


One of the things I love about photography is the ability to get as creative as I can and want, whether in camera or during post. I don’t do a whole lot to my pictures after the fact because I feel strongly about maintaining the integrity of what I have photographed however, there is a time and place for the sort of manipulation that happens with the click of a mouse. But that is probably a discussion for another day and I want to talk about some in camera magic.

Now, there are all kinds of things you can do with a camera in camera that have to do with the way an image is captured…dealing with the exposure and light and color, etc. And there are different sorts of lenses that do some way funky things because of design features that allow you to create some pretty cool optics. I have seen some amazing images taken with a Lensbaby and would love to play around with one but they come with a rather hefty price tag too.

But there are also things that give you the freedom to get creative that are surprisingly not expensive. Freelensing is what happens when you disconnect your lens from the camera body and instead hold it while you shoot through it. It makes for some dream like photographs and is pretty hard to nail without practice. I enjoy something called reverse lens macro. You remove the lense, flip it around and get really close to your subject and shoot through it. It’s a pretty neat effect.

I don’t go in much for trendy or gimmicky but I had seen this other fun way to play with an image as you take it that I wanted to try and man, I had fun! You shoot through a copper pipe and it adds some color tone changes and interesting textures and also isolates your focus a little bit. I know, I know, I am geeking out a bit and some of you are just like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, are you going to show us any pictures or not?”

Good news…I am! And hopefully you will enjoy them even if you scratch your head a bit and say something like, “These are pretty but I don’t get the pipe thing.” But that’s okay! I enjoyed the process and you can enjoy the end result, deal?

I can’t wait to try it out while taking a portrait but this time I used my oh, so lovely and uber cooperative African violet.

Isn’t it so dramatic looking? I loved the way the threads on the inside of the pipe created this spiral effect.

I also loved how it toned down the light and helped narrow the focus a bit.

Okay, that’s enough for now but you can expect to see more fun shots with the copper pipe in the future. For now, I have some fabulous family pictures from last week to get ready to share with you later this week and I am really looking forward to a session tonight with a family that will include some watermelon goodness and a really cute one year old.

Have a happy Monday, y’all, and try something new!

About Editing and Style


I recently came across this meme and it made me laugh a little bit, “The next time someone looks at your work and says “Wow, you must have a nice camera!” Reply by saying, “Yes…and Van Gogh must have had one heck of a paint brush.”

There is a bit of a misconception that what really makes a photographer good is the equipment they use. I have heard the above scenario also in relation to cooking…”Wonderful dinner! You must have an amazing stove” Or, “I just finished Dandelion Wine…Ray Bradbury must have had a fantastic typewriter!” All said tongue in cheek but making the point that as Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph. You make it.”

A lot of things go into creating a good photograph and not all of it happens inside the camera or is based on the eye of the photographer. Those are just tools but not even the only tools. Obviously, the better the tool in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing is significant but I have seen people do some crazy photography with a simple set up. Another tool is what can happen after the click of the camera. I have a very minimalist approach to post processing but I do some stuff to my images. Sometimes it is as simple as straightening the horizon or smoothing out a blemish, etc. but there is power in the effect of post processing and I thought I would share a little bit of how it can change the look of an image.

First, let me show you an image sooc…that is photographer lingo for straight out of camera. I cut my picture taking teeth on photographing flowers and it is still a favorite thing for me to photograph. The only thing that has happened up to this point with these carnations is that I have uploaded the image from the camera to my computer.

With this image the first thing I am going to do is get rid of the distracting corners in the frame. I want the flowers to get all of the attention but our eyes automatically seek out light areas so they have to go. I wanted to keep as much space around the flowers though so I can only do a slight crop.

You can still see those pesky corners and that means I need to clone them out. Cloning is simply a tool that allows me to copy one area within the image and basically paste it over what I want to hide. I have a very basic skill level when it comes to cloning but I know people who are amazing at it. (My friend Carmen once cloned out some mamas who were holding onto their children in a picture we took and it made it look like these three little fat babies were just hanging out in a tree all on their own. Man, did we get some flack despite saying up front that at no time were the babies just sitting on their own. She’s really good.*) But back to my limited ability…I cloned out the corners and upped the contrast and exposure just a tad. Overall I am pleased with the look from just these basic edits.

Edit A

But here is where the magic really happens. There are all kinds of effects and tricks you can do to an image that can give it a totally different vibe. Here I have brightened and lightened the whole image by adjusting my levels and playing with curves. Quite a difference, isn’t it?

Edit B

Really you can just play with light and shadows, the warmth or coolness of the color and make some minor adjustments and you get a seemingly completely different image. Remember these images are the exact same at their base but notice how the one on the left looks as if the flowers are bigger and closer somehow. The one on the right has a flatter subdued matte finish.

This time I lightened the whole image but also added a film grain that softens the overall look. I also pushed the reds up slightly on the wooden table.

Edit E

I love black and white images and find them to be more emotional, even with inanimate objects, than their sister color version. This particular kind of black and white is an old school Hollywood style that has some silver and green undertones. Not every image holds up well to it but man, I loved how it looked on these flowers.

Edit F

You may not have noticed that green tone until you saw these two but it is unmistakable up against traditional black and whites. The image on the left has more of a slight purple undertone and is lighter overall. The image on the right is more dramatic with darkers shadows.

So one image edited eight different ways. The really cool thing is that as a photographer I have crafted something that will ideally appeal to a broad range of people who have different tastes and preferences.

Light and airy. Dark and moody. Romantic. Dramatic. These are some different buzz words used to try and define a particular style of a photographer. And it can be helpful and really important to like the style used if you are trying to choose someone to do portraits.

I don’t know how I would describe my style exactly. I like bright and clean images but sometimes find that a little more shadowing and darker tones might suit a particular image better. I like for skin to look real and eyes to be normal. I don’t like using overlays on my images. I want consistency and I want my clients to see their portraits and see the love and connection between the people in them. I want to draw out personality and to communicate character. I want to tell the story that is unfolding in your life at that moment and if that is a toddler who won’t look at the camera so be it. I want to capture the interesting and ordinary beauty that we live with everyday and sometimes overlook.

So, which edit do you prefer on our lovely carnations? I will happily gift a 5×7 print to a randomly chosen commenter.

*One of the mamas still had a copy of the babies hanging out in the tree…isn’t it hilarious?

Image may contain: 3 people, baby and outdoor