Cranberries and Rosemary - Photo Shoot

This past weekend I carved out some “me” time and put aside the holiday decorating for a bit.  Having gotten a majority of the outside lighting completed, I didn’t feel too badly about taking a break.  It’s NO fun trying to string lights, climb a ladder, and, check the bulbs when your fingers are frozen and the cords are stiff as boards!  With that project nearing completion, I spent some time in the studio challenging myself on a new photo technique.

I had not taken the time to plan a “Flat Lay” shoot as of yet in my practice and I was overdue!  My first step was to determine the mood I wanted to convey and quickly decided on a darker look and feel.  This also provided an opportunity to create a new backdrop for the setting!  I simply rubbed white chalk on a piece of black foam core and wiped away in a light swishing manner with a piece of crumpled paper towel

Chalking the surface

Paper towel wipe

Chalked result

I was very pleased with the outcome as it provided the depth I was looking for with the black and included some texture.  With no fixative in sight, I improvised and gave the chalk finish light dusting of aerosol hairspray!  I ALWAYS have hairspray close at hand (can’t get out of the 80’s!!)

With the background ready to go I started to plan my props list and knew instantly I wanted to use some gorgeous red cranberries I had in the fridge.  In addition, my favorite wooden spoon begged to be part of the action along with the old tiny muffin tin and the sugar sack!  In order to put another natural element into the mix, I remembered my small pot of rosemary I had planted this summer and clipped some off for color and texture.  

The photo shoot location was my good ole

4x4 Studio

 so off I went to assemble.

The arrangement came together very organically.  I started with the muffin tin and began adding cranberries.  The spoon came next, with more cranberries, and then the sugar sack rumpled in the corner.  Lastly, the rosemary was added with both small stalks and clippings.  There, done….know when to stop Joan!

When I first started this blog, I wanted to be very transparent in order to show my successes and failures.  I have always loved looking at “pull-back” shots that clearly show the complete picture.  This is where I set it all up and how it looked "pulled back"

I used a solid black piece of foam core to slightly darken the area with a couple of small clamps to act as stands.  I experimented with its placement in order to get the shaded look I was after.  I also used my tripod which is something I was new to as well.  In the past, I would grab my camera and try to steady myself as much as possible but I clearly see the difference and will use it much more often!

My camera is a Canon Rebel T3 and I used my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens.  All very beginner level equipment but it's a sound place to start.

I shoot in Raw format and here are the SOOC (straight out of the camera) shots - no adjustments other than to save as a jpeg.  

Exposure 1/25

F-Stop 3.50

ISO 200

Exposure 1/25

F-Stop 3.50

ISO 200

Now are these images technically correct?  I am not 100% sure but they did turn out exactly as I envisioned.  There are so many things I can do to better these images from making adjustments in Camera Raw (Photoshop Elements), cropping, presets/actions....and so many more.  These will all come but for now, this is good for me.  Baby steps right?

I really enjoyed documenting this process and would like to know if you found this helpful or interesting?  Would you like to see more of this?  Am I missing something?  I am hoping to do more of these types of posts and would welcome your suggestions.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and as always, I will look forward to hearing from you.