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:
- using the same color background and tablecloth creates a unified look;
- a tripod is a necessity; a monopod would have been even better;
- two different cameras under the exact same conditions can yield vastly different results, especially in terms of color quality;
- 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;
- some planning is good, but being open to serendipity is even better.
The black foam-board backdrop is somewhat better:
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...)