The making of an editorial still-life

As most posts require the accompaniment of images, either for demonstration or simply enhancement to ones words, achieving that photograph can be a work of art in itself. With the recent post to a Cats Golden Years, an image was needed to illustrate several of my notebooks being used for the Family Secrets Revisited project.

It may seem like a straight forward assignment to take a photograph of a notebook, but to make it more interesting, means creating an environment that not only looks real, but also feels natural.

Image shows two fill-cards to bounce light back onto the set

Apart from pulling together the elements and background props with which to compose a mini set, a stage that not only re-creates a personal environment, but also evokes an emotion, a mood in the visiting viewer, thereby bridging the authors words with the reader/visitor.

The following several photographs show a set assembled on a large table near a window with northern light exposure, as this has become my favorite method of photographing, even though I have studio flash lighting equipment.

Whenever I need a still-life type photograph, I approach the project the same way as if I were painting a scene, setting up first the easel to establish a point of view. In photography, I use a tripod with which to set up my point of view. While using the camera’s view finder, I begin placing the elements on the table, adding, removing, putting back into the frame an element, building the set.

During the first phase of building the set, I will also be fine tuning the tripods position, height and angle to achieve the desired composition, while in phase two the main focus is in building the set and how it appears through the viewfinder.

An open case for reading glasses on the lower left side, helps to keep upright the cover
of a book acting as a gobo to block of window light from a portion of the set

Phase three is controlling and adjusting the lighting, using a gobo to block of any light where it is not wanted and using a fill card or a reflector to add more light back into the set, making shadows not only lighter but also more gradual, while giving a little punch of light to other areas.

When you think you have everything in place, we enter phase four. It is now time to take several different exposures, some that are normal and a little over, including varying the ƒ-stop to change the focal point of the photograph.

Since having added the iPhone 4S smartphone’s camera to my arsenal for taking pictures, the Nikon D70 is still my main workhorse, the iPhone 4S allows me to do things with ease, especially experiment with different angles and points of view in tight surroundings, as is evident in these images here. 


Alternative I — iPhone camera                          Alternative II — iPhone camera

Phase five is editing the selection of images to a handful and optimizing their appearance in programs like PhotoShop and making our final selection. The final process can be the most difficult, as I finally settled for the Nikon version, though I prefer the iPhone's iPhoneography image. In the end, one needs to approach the selection process from an editor’s editorial point of view.

Editorial version — Nikon camera

My favorite version — iPhone camera

It was a close, gut wrenching call between the two.

Thank you for your visit
and comment . . .



L'Adelaide said...

i thoroughly enjoyed reading how you came to where you came to and what a lot of trouble you do go to for your photos...i am strictly a point and click girl i'm afraid. no patience at all..

this music is lovely and the post on Ms. White is also quite fascinating...thank you as always, dear egmont, for your posts...oh my now i see the verif. is not working...sigh... i am no longer on blogger as the spammers sucked the life right out of my blog and finally i gave up and made a break to WPress. i am just beginning to blog over there and it's quite lonely after years over here on blogger. tho i hate what google is doing to it. they will no longer allow WP bloggers to comment on blogs without a blogger acct. seems quite wrong but who am i?

addresses of both are [without links] musings on country living dot wordpress dot com and watercolorcandy dot com-this one is about my synesthetic painting journey. if it doesn't work, just use the wordpress address behind the first part. i hope to see you one day soon. xxx

Sophie Munns said...

Egmont... I love these images.. I hope its ok ..I wish to put one or more on Pinterest.
Love your handwriting... nothing more pleasing than pages in a nice hand!
ciao friend!

.Trudi Sissons said...

Hi Egmont....
Loved your details on this particular post.

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