A Day of Photography - Blue and White Shoot

I have come to the realisation, that no matter how many photography courses you attend, when it comes to interior shots your skills are not going to improve until you start shooting like crazy. When it comes to creating great interior or styling shots, the more I photograph, the more I realise how difficult it is to get that perfect shot. However, each mistake takes me one step further to achieving that elusive image I am looking for. So, today my house was in complete turmoil as I moved things around to find the best lit rooms to photograph some blue and white.

I am greatly inspired by the lovely images that blogger/entrepreneur, Miss Mustard Seed shares on her blog. Marian features beautiful shots of her home and collectables and Inspired by her lovely images, I tried to set up some vignettes and hone my own newly acquired skills. I don't profess to be a photographer or stylist and as Marian explains in her recent post on The Process of Styling, "styling is an art in itself". How I have tackled today's shoot was to simply add or subtract items until I felt I had created a balanced photograph. If you are good at styling vignettes then this does help, however 'practice, practice and more practice' will improve your skills.

My initial inspiration was a pretty bunch of lavender my girlfriend plucked from her garden. I have used a 35mm lens for this shoot and my Nikon D7100, the camera used to photograph my little Schnoodle, Poppy. The 35mm lens goes down to a low F-stop (1.8 aperture) enabling me to focus on my subject and blur other items, which makes a far more interesting image. Of course my photos are nothing like Marian's she is skilled in this art, so if you want to learn about how to style and shoot then I would definitely recommend reading her post.

I don't have much in the way of props at the moment, I plan to seek out interesting items once my new kitchen and pantry is in place and I have more storage. I made do with a few items that contrast blue and white, I tried various way of displaying them and came up with a few images I deemed worthy of sharing, both the good and the bad. The images may seem a little repetitive, however if you look closely you will see I have focused on different aspects for each image. I might add at this stage to gain control of my camera and shoot in manual, I used the 'Shoot fly Shoot' tutorials. They have really easy on-line video tutorials, they are reasonably priced and I found them very simple to understand. I had intended to go to the local night school classes, however I found the videos were exactly what I needed and I didn't have to brave the winter weather to attend.

Above: I noticed the pot of lavender was not central and the ends of the fork were not in the picture, you need to look for these finer details when styling for a photograph.
Above: With this shot I should have moved the plate further forward or the pot of lavender further back, it would have made a better composition. Shooting 'tethered' as MMS discusses in her post, helps to pick out these finer points before taking the photo. These images are not shot tethered. A much larger wine glass would also have been more balanced.
Above: I have no idea what the dark patch is in the top right hand corner but it spoils the image... All a learning curve.
Above: In this photo it would be much better without the tassel showing as it just doesn't look right. It may have been better to also move the mineral water a little further back and more to the left. All these little things can make all the difference.
Above: Changing the F-stop (aperture) allows you to bring your subject into focus and soften/blur your background.
Above: Here I have focused the camera on the bottle of mineral water so the foreground and background remains out of focus.
Above: I moved the setting to another room with different light.  I took one shot as above then added a plant below for some contrasting green.
Above: I liked the way the light filtered through the last few shots. It is important to move around your house to find which light works to your advantage. Of course you will find different light at different times of the day, play around with the light and your settings until you are happy with your shot.

I hope I haven't bored you too much with what seems like repetitive photography. I got quite excited about some of the shots. If your a pro, there are probably 101 things wrong with them but I have come to realise that photography is about practice, learning to look at things in a fresh way and most of all, being happy with your own photos. It is all in the eye of the beholder, and the more we practice, the closer we will get to taking those images we love, and believe me I have a long journey ahead and I plan to enjoy every moment.

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