Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homespun Elegance

If you know anything about me, you'd know that I enjoy country primitive decor and love my bed/sleeping/naps, etc.

When we got an assignment to do an environmental still life, I thought about setting up a kitchen scene and the making of cookies. Then I thought about doing a similar kitchen scene with canisters (the things that hold flour and sugar), along with a picture of the black holder I have for my kitchen utensils.

BUT....then I got an idea (after seeing a bedroom scene) to re-create a bedroom. I brought in a quilt I purchased in Maine a few years back. I brought in my nightstand and my tissue box, as well as a little plate sitting on a wooden plate holder that a friend gave to me. I borrowed a pillow a classmate had and put a similar colored pillowcase on it that would match my color scheme (browns). I also brought in a curtain off of one of my windows.

The assignment called for the following:

Using props and lighting, create an environmental still-life that looks like natural light (coming from a candle, window, or lamp). Use props and set construction to imitate a location other than the studio. Create a realistic environment that your product or subject could exist in.

I have to remember sometime to take a picture of the set-up in the studio. Sometimes I can't imagine the things that are done to make a picture appear so different than it truly exists. You'd never notice, but my "bed" is basically a piece of wood sitting on two saw horses; this table is the base for most of our shoots thus far...I just turned the table vertically to make it appear like a bed.

The "window" is a set. It's about 4 feet wide (2 walls) and 9 feet tall. It's on wheels too. There is no rod for the curtain, so I took a c-stand (below) and used the rod on the c-stand to suspend my curtain.

The nightstand is sitting on what we call apple boxes (below); ours are painted white and don't have those little clasps on them. And all of ours are the same size, but you get the idea!

And one of my instructors and I fussed with the exact positioning of the glasses and tissue box...we'd move it centimeters to get it in the right spot.

Oh and to make the light appear as though it's nighttime and that there's a blue-ish (setting sun affect) from "outside), another instructor (Dick) put some blue gels on the light outside the window and we set my exposure to four seconds long, which means the shutter was open for 4 seconds before it closed again, letting the light from the nightstand "burn" into the image.

So this..... the finished product!

I really enjoyed this shoot and am happy with the finished product. It takes time to get to the finished result. I shot for over 2 hours to get this the way I wanted it to look. You fuss and fuss and fuss...and then finally, it's how you want it to look.

Then I have to bring the image into the computer, edit it, retouch it, crop it to an 11x14 aspect ratio, add some naming to the file, and submit it digitally through the server.

I hope this gives you a more in-depth look at a shoot we do. And so you know why it's so intense, apply this type of dedication to multiple studio shoots a week and your mind (and eyes) start spinning. Just this week we have had to submit 7 assignments, so that's 7 photos that need all that work done to them.
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