Thursday, April 9, 2009

Still Life Photo Shoot

Clementines and Plum Blossoms in Silver Bowl

Yesterday, my artist friend Jenny Mark and I spent several fun-filled hours photographing fruit still lifes*. We had two cameras popping away and berries were flying and backdrops were falling... But it was a blast, and we ended up with over 150 reference photos for future paintings. Of course, of those 150 photographs, there were probably 12-15 real "keepers."

It was a great experience and we learned a lot, including:
  1. using the same color background and tablecloth creates a unified look;
  2. a tripod is a necessity; a monopod would have been even better;
  3. two different cameras under the exact same conditions can yield vastly different results, especially in terms of color quality;
  4. using a tungsten light really makes the colors vivid. We used natural lighting for the majority of our pics, but the few photos taken with the tungsten light were noticeably brighter;
  5. some planning is good, but being open to serendipity is even better.
Here, you can see that the white background is too jarring:

The black foam-board backdrop is somewhat better:

The black velour backdrop is just right:

The bonus of photographing fresh fruit is that it makes for a lovely lunch afterward:

I'm sure elements from these still lifes will be appearing in my paintings and drawings for months to come!

(* Wikipedia informs us that the plural of still life is still lifes. It seems counter-intuitive, but I'm going with it...)


Melissa and Emmitt April 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

hi christine!
oh what a fabulous post!

your photos are wonderful and your lunch looks delicious!

now i know what i am going to have for dinner!


donna April 20, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

Looks like you are having a blast! I love doing this, too. Endless hours, thousands of shots...Oh, and the prop shopping around town. Does it get any better?

You might like the effect of no flash...really chiaroscuro. Have fun!


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