Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photography Day!

Well, I may have a new office, but I've now found my new photography studio and I don't have to go any further than our Meditation Garden.

It's an outdoor patio enclosed on all four sides by our house.  Perfect for my needs.  You see, bead photography is a difficult art.  Being glass and/or shiny, the reflective nature of the materials tend to obscure the color and form of the subject.  In addition, artificial lighting does the same.  It's imperative that natural light be used during the process, but in addition, if you're dealing with anything shiny, you don't want to be in direct sunlight.  A shady place is a good place to be.

Our garden fits the bill.  I discovered that today when I set up outside to take a few pics.
Actually, though, it didn't occur to me to shoot this picture until I had already broken down most of the essential materials.  That is, the props and the jewelry itself.  Even so, you get the "picture."  I was able to sit on the foot stool and use the bench as my table.  By adding different props and different colored place mats as background (as well as stones and other natural and artificial materials), I was able to get a whole bevy of what I would consider great shots!  Here are some samples:


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My pictures are getting better and better. Eric asked me how I was improving so much as he looked over the GIF files in this blog post and was impressed by their quality. "Lots and lots of practice." I replied.

The truth is that I have practiced... a LOT! And I've read article after article on line, and I've watched "How to" videos on You Tube, and I've read other artist's blog posts about how they achieve such great pictures, and then I experiment. A lot.

I've experimented with the various menu settings on my camera. I've experimented with locations and lighting. I've experimented with different kinds of props. Props too simple. Props so complex that they distracted from the centerpiece. Backgrounds of differing colors. And I continue to experiment every single time I pull my camera out.

It's work. Hard work, and hard work that i did not anticipate when starting to make jewelry. Work that I hated for a very long time because of the poor results I was getting.

But now, I'm actually starting to enjoy the process. Getting the right pictures is an art form in and of itself. I'm not rich enough or well known enough to pay for somebody else to do this for me, so I am going it alone. And as I keep improving, I'm enjoying it more and more.

I'm almost feeling ready to write a blog post of my own, explaining my own process of getting good pictures.

Get the pic?

4 comments:

Claudia said...

The pics are great. I'm so glad that you are using the meditation garden for your picture. I'm happy that you are spending time there. :) :)

Ang said...

I keep thinking about this garden. It has left such and imprint on me..and I am continued to be bugged on what could contribute to make it better. A palm or bamboo over by that slider by the boys room. Candles for dusk..Your tealights you spoke of. Of course your turtles may object

I have seen some great paintings and wall hangings up here of buddha's and vishnus while I was out shopping for myself that would look great in your garden.

Your photography has improved greatly..You've mastered the macro setting girl..

Laura said...

Thank you Ang! There is a lot to be done in the meditation garden still, but when I look on it, I think of the three of you helping to turn it into what it's becoming (I remember you in the corner weed whacking those pesky vines out of the plants so that they could stand up and thrive, THANK YOU!) , a place of peace, a place of joy. I'll be honest, when you-all first left us, it was just a place of sadness for me thinking that we would never talk again, and I couldn't even go out there, but as we started to repair ourselves, I forced myself out of it and not only do I enjoy the space for itself, but I also think that it, like meditation, like yoga, is a good place for repair. I know that we'll never be quite the same, but like the proverbial plate that's been broken and glued together, maybe we'll end up being stronger than the original. Time will tell.

Eric & I have not gotten to the point where we're working on the turtle pond again and because it's turned cold here, the water is cold and they're now mostly in hibernation. I'm glad that I was able to snap photos of Melvin on top of old Croaky before it happened. (That was the caption contest on FB - lol!) But now we can make decisions based on our own tastes, and we won't have to deal with the turtles weighing in - lol! There are already way too many opinions here to deal with as it is. ;)

Ironically, I was going the same place with the bamboo as you've just suggested. We have a couple of tiny bamboo plants in teeny-tiny containers right now. I've suggested to Eric that we put them in bigger containers and, gulp, place them on the side by the boys room - lol! Great minds and all...

Laura said...

Thanks for the compliments on the pics. My skills took a quantum leap again last week. It's so strange to remember when I couldn't even get a pic that wasn't blurry. It's the macro setting as you've suggested, but also I've educated myself on propping (not too empty, not too busy), and most important, lighting... both the natural light and the setting on my camera that allows me to adjust the light let into the box. I'm really proud of the fact that I hardly have to edit the photos at all these days, and instead of hating the photography portion of jewelry making, am starting to enjoy it! Of course, the space helps immensely. The lighting in there is somewhat consistent at all times of the day. I've never had a space available to me like that before.

The next step? As I am listing lots of jewelry in my Etsy shop (www.artizenbeads.etsy.com), I need to learn how to better describe it, how to pick more effective tag words, how to take advantage of SEOs, and most important, advertising. I think it's time to take the next leap too and start taking ads out on Facebook. Fortunately, Eric has a lot of reading material around on these subjects and when I don't understand what they're trying to tell me (often when it comes to computer stuff), he can explain. I've always been a visual learner rather than a book learner, and nothing has changed in that respect. But the great part is that I have the drive to continue learning still, and it comes into play every day.

That's true of you too, though. I know that you make a point of learning more about everything every day, just like me, including learning about yourself. That's really the key to life, don't you think? Evolution! I would hate to think that I was in the same place that I was when I graduated high school, or even where I was five years ago, and I think you feel the same. We're growing, and we're taking advantage of everything around us to enhance that process. I love you for that.

PS - We received lots of candles as wedding gifts. It's funny, but I already told Eric we're putting them out there. But I hesitate to do anything with them until I at least start getting the Thank You notes written. Oy vey, but that's going to be a process! But a happy end to one of the most significant events of my lifetime.


Laura
www.LauraRSilverman.com
www.LauraRSilverman.blogspot.com
http://ArtiZenBeads.etsy.com

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