» February 2012 «

Guest Post: Photographing Details

To continue our weekend focus on those pretty little details, here is another incredible guest post from Kira of Kira Noble Photography. This article teaches the amateur photographer how to turn those decent pictures into works of art. Be sure to head over to Kira’s website and show her some love.

Details, details, details! I have noticed that in the past few years the detail elements of a wedding day have become increasingly important to brides, wedding planners and photographers. If you look at any wedding style blogs, like Style Me PrettyOnce WedGreen Wedding Shoes and countless others, the photography featured revolves around how to implement fantastic detail and intricacy into a wedding or event.

As a wedding photographer I realized that I needed to learn quickly how to take the kind of photos that would highlight and pay tribute to the details every bride, florist and wedding coordinator spend countless hours creating.
Of course at the end of the day, the photo of the “first kiss” is more important to my client than the cool photograph of the cupcake tower or bouquets. However, details seam together the story of the day, revealing something about the bride and groom, and hopefully reminding them of the depth of their wedding day.

Although I have certainly not mastered how to take detail shots, I have learned a lot in the past few years and thought I would share some specifics of what I’ve learned here with you. Even if you’re not a photographer these techniques can apply to any detail photo you may want to take. From taking photos of your latest creation in the kitchen, to the flowers blooming in your garden to the next event you attend or host.

1) Find good light- The first thing to do is make sure you have great natural light. Seriously, light can make the difference between a mediocre photograph and a photo that makes you sigh! Sometimes this will mean moving the object of your photograph from its original location (if possible) to a location with better light. The photo below is from a wedding I recently shot. I was taking photos of the reception details and took this photo of the tiered cookie stand. The first one was taken in the afternoon (before anyone came into the reception) and I didn’t have time to move it to better light. It is dark and although it works, it is not the best photo. Later in the evening the room was filled with lovely light and I got this photograph of the same detail.

2) Remove anything distracting- I learned this tip from Jasmine Star in her first creative live workshop. She encouraged photographers to move anything that would “cheapen” the photo. Feel free to move things like salt and pepper, serving utensils and sugar packets from a table. And of course, put them back after you get the photo you need. Before I heard Jasmine talk about this, I was too afraid to touch or move anything on the wedding day. I didn’t want to mess anything up. However, once I had the confidence to remove distracting items from my frame, my photos of flowers and tables settings started looking more like something you could find in a magazine. Holla!

3) Use surrounding environment- Use your environment to add interest to your photograph. First take a few photos of your object and then take a step back. What else in the room can you use to your advantage? Is there a window that can act as a natural frame for your object? Are there other elements already in the room that you can add to your photograph to make it tell a story? An example of this is in the photos below. I took these photos this summer at Jackson and Shayla’s wedding. Shayla got ready at her parents beautiful home. I started out the day taking photos of her jewelry, shoes, dress and makeup. I wanted close-up photos of her hair-piece and rings and I started out in a spot I thought had good light, but the background was a little boring. Then I saw the antique books sitting on the coffee table. I moved the rings and hair-piece and immediately the photos took on more life. The books, wood tray and burlap added texture the photograph was missing.

4) Lower your perspective-- This one is simple. To diversify your the kind of detail shots you take, simply change up your angle and perspective. At first, I simply shot a table setting by standing above it and shooting down. While this type of perspective can yield good photos, changing your angle or getting “low” can capture the setting and mood in a much stronger way. The photos below are from Dani and Tyson’swedding last summer. One was shot from above, the other I shot by getting on my knees and getting “eye level” with the table.

5) Shoot wide-open- In my opinion, one of the best ways to get strong detail shots is to shoot with your camera set at a low f-stop. (Click HEREto read a great explanation about aperture and f-stops.) By shooting “wide-open” you not only get the most out of all the pretty light, your detail will stand out and you’ll achieve that cool “drop-off” effect. Below are a few detail photos that I shot wide open and the settings.

85mm 1.8 1/30 and ISO 250

50mm 1.8 1/320 ISO 400

Grab your camera and start shooting!

{the cute vintage fabric tape is from Pugly Pixel. Find them HERE.}

Setting the Scene

I’ve realized over the past year that I am much better at capturing the small details of our farm workshops than I am at photographing the people involved. Perhaps it’s because the objects don’t move, or maybe it has to do with their vivid colors. Either way, I thought I would share a few of my favorite photos from last week’s cooking lesson and moss workshop.

These photos capture unique aspects of the atmosphere we try to create out at Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers–quaint, old-fashioned, peaceful–although nature has already done most of the work for us. Whatever words these might bring to mind, I hope they make you take pause and think about the little details in your own life that you may be overlooking every day.

When planning a dinner party, birthday, or wedding, don’t forget the impact little details have on the event and on the way you remember it years later.

Be sure to check back with us soon for an incredible guest post from my friend, Kira, of Kira Noble Photography, on how to best photograph the little details.

Moss Workshop

This Saturday was our first workshop of the season at Aunt Willies Wildflowers. You may wonder what type of flowers are growing in Tennessee in the middle of February? Well, with the exception of a few flowers that have sprouted in the hoop house and early-bird daffodils, we have lots and lots of moss.

Moss is an easily underestimated little plant, however the possibilities are endless. For the workshop we filled frosted glassware with dirt then the ladies took mosses of varied colors and textures to cover the dirt. Finally, the ladies used a variety of twigs, dried plants, pebbles, and willow to make their moss gardens come to life.

This workshop also included a home-cooked meal along with cooking lesson from Liz Bushong of Serve it up Sassy! She made a mullet soup, spring green salad with blood orange dressing, and lemon-herb scones.

I also made a another batch of lemon white chocolate truffles to share. You can find the recipe here.

Here are my recipe adjustments: I used 1-1/2 c. of white chocolate, and instead of using the double boiler method I combined the zest of 1 lemon with the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it started bubbling. Then I removed the pan from heat, added the chocolate and mixed until smooth. Next add the extract and transfer to a bowl to cool in the fridge. Follow the rest of the directions at K Bakes accordingly.

After completing the moss gardens, the ladies used various willow, forced forsythia and privet berries to make winter arrangements. Even in the winter, with no flowers in bloom, it is still possible to make beautiful arrangements for your home.

The moss workshop/cooking class was a new addition to the farm schedule and a good start to the flower season. I’ve added a few more edited photos of the workshop under our “Farm Photos” tab, complete with photos of Linda’s beautiful table setting, moss gardens, and flower arrangements from the hoop house. To see all the rough workshop photos click here.

Make your own wooded arrangement or moss garden this week–you might be surprised to find that everything you need is right outside your front door.

Lemon Chocolate Truffles

Just a few lemon chocolate truffles to share with you for Valentine’s day.

You can find the recipe at Swapna’s Cuisine. First, I made her version using white chocolate…

Then I made them with milk chocolate. This version has a flavor combination similar to the orange -chocolate eggs, surprisingly delicious.

The envelope was for Jack’s card. I simply wrapped red string around it until I approved of the pattern.

Hope you all are able to spend some time with those you love and who love you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pin Away With Me: Week #1

I’ve decided to jump on board with the thousands of bloggers sharing their “Week of Pinterest” ideas. It seems silly not to considering most of my blogging ideas are inspired by pins. If you haven’t had a chance to join the pinning movement, I highly suggest you jump on the bandwagon and start enjoying hours of pinned inspiration.

Be forewarned, Pinterest is highly addictive. Check out our boards by clicking the “P” in the right column.

This week’s pinning delights include the following:

1.) Table Arrangement from The Found Blog
2.) Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake from the kitchn
3.) Linen closet organization from Martha Stewart
4.) Chicken baskets from Carina-forum
5.) Yarn Containers from Denise in Bloom
6.) Beautiful Basket Favors from minha filha vai casar

Happy Pinning!

Decorating: one step at a time

I realized recently that I hadn’t been posting anything remotely crafty, just food. Perhaps that gives you a glimpse into my study habits–attempt to study, get distracted by baking, then munch on the sugary goodness all night long.

I have been working on this painting for a few weeks now and finally decided to see what it looked like in our bedroom. I am still tweaking the background but can’t seem to find time to officially finish, so up on the wall it went and I’m so glad!

Decorating our bedroom has been a painstakingly slow process. I saw a picture when we first got married of a simple color scheme, white, tan, and navy blue–the room was exquisite. Since seeing this image I have been trying to capture that same feeling in our room and haven’t quite been able to get there with our limited time and funds. However, I thought I would share a few photos so you can see some examples of turning cheap, random items into coordinated decor. We still have a ways to go but these little touches are satisfying enough for now.

I decided to hang the painting above our bed because it provides a good central focus and ties in more of the warm neutrals in the room. As with most of my paintings, I found an image online that I liked and attempted my best replication.

The pillows on the bed are probably my favorite part (see pillow tutorial here). I have been slowly collecting fabrics in a variety of patterns and shades of blue to keep adding to the mix. I want the pillows to look eclectic and be the main pop of color in the room. I currently have 3 more fabrics waiting for me to turn into pillowcases.

We have also started collecting blue glass jars mainly because I love the way the light shines through them when streaming in the back window. The trick here is to have a small collection of jars that doesn’t look cluttered.

I have made great strides in the past four years of marriage in learning to just let go. I used to have so many little collections because of my attempts to be thrifty. You never know which items can be reused or refurbished? And the items I don’t think I’ll ever use, I can usually attribute some sentimental emotion to in order to justify its continued safekeeping in our home.

However, one day you just reach a point where you must throw out everything that even partially resembles clutter and voila! A clean and clutter free home. Now the trick is maintaining that environment. All that to say, this is my one collection at the moment–blue jars.

Well, that’s just a few of the decorating elements in our room. The wall adjacent to the bed also has a large hanging tapestry that matches the center pillow. We aren’t allowed to paint so hanging fabric on the walls has been our substitute for color additions.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this small glimpse into our developing home.