She will show you how she make her beautiful photos.
Background info on shoot
What backdrops are you using?
I use a dark blue linen material which I drape over a piece of plywood board for a lot of my shoots. I also use plywood boards with a dark grey undercoat of paint and white finish. My husband has also made me several wooden backdrops which I’ve stained dark brown. I’m a thrift store shopper and I find a lot of off-cut building materials at a local store. I have several types of vinyl flooring off-cuts which I use regularly. For this shoot I used my linen material and some vinyl flooring material.
How do you start with styling?
I consider what my subject is, what I’m trying to say about it and how best to capture its loveliness. This cake has beautiful angles and details and the loveliest rich brown colour. I didn’t want to hide it under a glaze or frosting, but rather give it a light dusting of icing sugar. I love shots with movement and if this involves icing sugar, the darker the photo the better. I also think about what props might help tell the story – for me, everything I use has to make sense. For this cake, do I want its raw ingredients – eggs, milk, brown sugar, flour – in the shot? Or do I want to show it in its final resting place, sitting pretty on the table ready to be served?
I went with the latter and added some beautiful dried flowers in tones that complimented the cake’s colour, and then I added a bit of soft material in blue to compliment the yellow earthy tones of the flowers.
What is your focus with styling?
My main focus is to get a beautiful image. I start with that and work backwards, making sure that there’s a story that makes sense because that adds interest. I also love playing with light and dark, so I also think about what things I can hide in the background and what things I can illuminate with light. I also consider my composition. I love using negative space and am trying to work harder on using the rule of thirds. When I started most of my photos had the subject very centred, but after watching Lucie’s tutorials on Instagram, I’ve started to appreciate how powerful the rule of thirds is.
What props do you often use?
My most used props are my cake stands because they elevate the food, allowing me to hide things below and behind the subject in the shadows. I have a rectangle and square cake stand made of wood that I use all the time. They also help me place my subject in the light while still creating that space in the darkened background below it. I also use cutlery a lot, but that’s because we use it to eat with and it makes sense in the shot. Cutlery is also so beautiful if it’s got details on, or is nicely tarnished.
Tips and tricks?
For dark shots, find a great light source and a way to manipulate it (I use blockout and sheer curtains to create a really dark room with a single source of light through a small opening in the curtains). Set your shot up so that your subject is partly or wholly in the light, and place your props partly or wholly in the dark to create some mystery. I also use black foam boards to help create shadows if the light is really bright. Go thrift shopping for beautiful, inexpensive pieces (I go weekly). Also look through the linen section because often there are some beautiful napkins or tea towels that you can use to add a bit of movement in your shots.
Which light do you work (daylight/artificial)
I use natural light, but only because I have a great source in my living room and have never had the opportunity to try artificial.
What camera and lenses do you use and/or tripod?
I use a Canon EOS 7D and a nifty Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. I use a Weifeng tripod and a Canon remote for hand shots. Next on my list of purchases is a tripod arm and a 24 – 75mm lens.
Which program to edit your photos?
I use Lightroom and it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
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