Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY Product Photos

For those of you lovely people that read my blog you may have noticed some changes of late, namely everything's gone a bit whiter. Like the studio clear out I felt it was time to clean up. Now that my focus has shifted more towards the illustration side of things, I needed to place the emphasis more on that side of my output. As part of this overhaul I knew my product photos needed help, previously lack of time was my excuse but no longer. I like taking photos (of people/dogs) and once upon a time I did a photography course in a proper studio and learnt about aperture and shutter speed etc, my issue is I get bored. I did some visual research and made notes on what caught my eye and sketched out some composition ideas. I didn't want to go the all white backdrop route, can't tell you why exactly.

I needed props, or so I thought... I know I'll tie in the subject of the card I'm shooting with an appropriate prop. Organisational disorder ensued, as those familiar with my output know my cards range from food puns to animals, that's a lot of props everything from a microphone to potatoes!

After an hour or so I was back to a simple backdrop and shooting different angles. What I learned from this is you have to take risks and even if something looks great on a tiny screen it doesn't always translate and vice versa. Below are all unedited photos, no cropping or whitening....yet.

All were taken using my Canon 60D and natural daylight only, (read I hate flash) and without a tripod (yes I have one but I'm lazy and the dogs were in the way.)

So after I downloaded my morning's efforts and I really didn't mind some of the prop shots after all.  I think the ones that work have enough visual interest to look editorial. There were some that were overboard but I was trying to do to much, less is more. Still got about another 60 cards to shoot but it's a start, just going to need to make sure they are all cohesive. Feel free to comment below.
Card on a plate, through the viewfinder the white contrast looked good

A lot of wood !
The idea of the card being on display
Shells tie in with the fish theme could be repeated for Crab, again did not think this would work.
Going for the hand sketched angle, hated it at the time but now really like it.
Simple clothes line set up using natural light
A little dull but works.

My not so helpful helpers, bless.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Workspace.

First doodle in the new room.
I spent the weeks leading up to Jan 1st frantically organizing my workspace ready for a fresh tidier 2014. It could get bad in there so much so that I would work elsewhere rather than face the mess. It took a while, time when I could have been creating but it was long overdue. I went through all my supplies, donated things I wasn't going to use and organized everything else. Extraneous furniture, big pictures were all creating clutter so out they went. The transformation was low budget, I found some wooden shelves while walking the dogs and an hour later got them home. They had been painted black but nothing that a bit of sanding couldn't cure. Other shelves from Ikea had been languishing in a closet as I waited for the right spot to put them up. My main eye opener was the fact that I had a million containers everywhere and they were all full of junk, so one by one I dumped them out and put everything in its place, needles, pin backs , small bits of fabric etc.

BEFORE: Sometimes during a busy spell it could get like this !!

BEFORE: Too much stuff not enough storage.

So the comfy chair was a good idea in theory, but just took up to much room. Out with the chair and in with the new/old shelf to form a wall and also a nook for hiding stuff from view (occasionally.) What isn't visible is the amount of stuff under the tables. The sewing machine is now stored below and comes out when its needed. Similarly the cutting mats are on hand but not on permanent display. A large walk in closet holds about 2 years worth of accumulated wool and fabric. There are also 12 clear plastic draws which also store supplies and packaging. I have not bought any fabric since the clearout as I have so much. It took a day to go through and sort the chest of draws so everything has a home.

Supplies which are used frequently are close at hand. Since this shot was taken a magnetic strip has gone up, a place to pin inspiring things as well as some pictures.

I got some colored cotton for Christmas and then added more in the sale, now I have a pretty decent set.

The guitar isn't part of my decor ! but its a small compromise in a room which is otherwise full of my stuff.

Added: Magnetic strip for inspiration and scissors.
I glove you clean workspace

Card packaging zone.
A handy thrift store find, filing cabinet on wheels stores all my patterns with a handy draw below for my sewing box. The wall decor is a work in progress.
Supplies and stock shelf

From yucky black wood shelves to very useful white ones, great free find, also acts as a wall and backdrop for photos on the wood side. Metal paper tray keeps loose papers at bay till they get filed.

Taken today as proof that it is still tidy 19 days into the new year.