A few weeks ago, a reader left a comment asking about what it looked like behind the scenes. This is what it looks like when you take 5 steps back. On a good day.
On a more normal day, there are a gajillion toys on the floor in the background and a toddler trying to climb on the table to get at the goods. She’s either screeching with excitement about the thought of sinking her hand into a bowl of guacamole or she’s… just screeching.
Taking a picture for the blog goes down pretty quickly. It has to. I try to work during naptime. I get the brightest light in the living room and all screeching toddlers are quietly sleeping upstairs.
- I decide which of the four DIY tabletops surfaces look the best with the dish (you can probably tell I’m partial to the blue & white ones).
- I go through my box of misfit dishes, thrift store flatware, and remnant bin fabrics and assemble some supporting characters.
- After arranging the shot on the tabletop in the kitchen, I carry the whole thing to the coffee table in the living room and drag the table over to the window.
The tabletops are about 2ft x 2ft. Some shots work better landscape, others portrait. The decision to shoot straight-on, 3/4, or overhead sometimes takes a couple of minutes to decide but I usually know what I’m going to do when I’m arranging things in the kitchen.
I’ve been using the same $2 foam core board for… 4 years? And it shows. It bounces the light back onto the shot to fill in the shadows. Because I like “girly light.” And shadows are evil in “girly light” I also have black poster board that kills the glare.
The clamps came from the garage. They were initially purchased for a DIY poker table project 6 years ago. (6 years!) I can always use an extra set of hands, but when he’s at the office, the clamps will do. When I shoot back-lit (like this shot), I use the clamps to hold a cheap white sheet onto the curtains to diffuse the light.
The tripod in the background wasn’t used for this shot. I use it in low-light situations so I can slow the shutter speed way down. When I use the tripod, I usually shoot tethered – my camera is connected via USB cable to my laptop and I pull the trigger in Lightroom. I have both hands free to clean up the shot and move things around. And usually I can see right away when I’ve accidentally included the toe of my show in the photo. Or the eggshell I decided not to use but forgot and left it in the shot anyway.