Tag Archives: Studio Photography

Coffee Bean Still Life

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For this week’s assignment I decided to photograph some inanimate objects and do a still life. My boyfriend’s love for me is comparable to his love of coffee. A large portion of his coffee consumption he actually roasts at home. So we had these beautiful Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans hanging around that had this amber brown shade coffee3to them and some still had the sheen of oil from being roasted only two days prior.

I really wanted to play around with using light to shoot from underneath which I did in the image to the right. I actually took the glass from my coffee table and and lined the underside with a white sheet to use as a consistent base but doubles as a diffuser and set my speedlite to aim straight up. I also had a second speedlite set up to light up the beans from the top. I really liked the detail it brought out with really defining the shape of the individual beans while also keeping a lot of the shadows on that center cut of the bean.

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I decided to use a mirror as a base for a couple of the other images. I really liked the reflection of the coffee beans in the images and the extra bit of depth it added.

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Photo Illustrations

For our photo illustration assignment we had to shoot two different ideas. I originally struggled to think of ideas but then I struggled to think of ideas that I could do that wouldn’t cost money to go out and buy items that I wanted to use as props in the photo.

I knew I wanted to do something with food. I’m a server and I came up with the idea to photograph how silly I find it when sometimes customers cut corners saying that they’re eating healthy because they ordered a diet soda or get angry when we don’t have low fat ranch dressing- and then order an all fried meal. The most difficult part of this assignment was really just my boyfriend getting to the first round of donuts before I had a chance to photograph them. That, and now I’m finding bits of bacon all over the carpet.

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“Cheating on your diet” A maple bacon blueberry filled donut wrapped in lettuce is still a donut, even if there is lettuce. Don’t cut corners, if you’re going to cheat on your diet then cheat. Web MD recommends not cutting out unhealthy foods entirely because it will lead to fixation and then splurging. This image was lit from the front left and another light to support and fill in the shadows coming from the right.

The inspiration for my second assignment was from an article I stumbled upon while scrolling through my homepage on Facebook. The article talked about this television show in Morocco that did a makeup tutorial for women to hide signs of domestic abuse. That really resonated with me about abuse being normalized and almost brushed under the rug and I wanted to do my assignment that showed the pressure women feel to keep quiet about abuse.

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“Concealing the abuse” Merissa Faye models cosmetic makeup and makeup imitating what a punch may look like. Models Taylor Kring and Kendra Peabody mimic the “shh” gesture to the pressure women feel to keep quiet. Faye, Kring, and Peabody were each lit with two lights with snoots to directionalize lights on the faces and give the fade to black effect.

Class Photo Illustration

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Our class split into two groups to compete against the other for who had the best idea and execution of the illustration. And though my team lost it has what I believe a strong message of dating, then and now and how drastically it has changed over the years due to technology and social media.

Still Life Stress

img_2419Marshmallows melt in a peppermint hot chocolate.

The hardest part about this assignment was figuring out what I wanted to do. There is such a wide array of options to do for still life and I tried multiple ideas from shaving cream and a razor, making my boyfriend model in his blue jeans, and trying to shoot coffee, but all of those things just weren’t clicking for me at the time. So I decided to go to Target to get a little inspiration.

Target was currently in the process of getting the Christmas decor out and I wandered around looking at everything, still in the mindset I was going to do something coffee related. Maybe a french press, throw around a couple whole beans, and a big beautiful cup of steaming hot coffee. But a good chunk of my mugs have chips in them so I knew I needed a new one. And as I was walking around Target I kept seeing candy canes,  peppermint, and chocolate everything. And then I couldn’t get this image of a beautiful cup of hot chocolate with a candy cane sticking out of it piled high with marshmallows in front of the open fire. Well, I don’t have an open fire but I ran with it anyway.

Originally I loved the idea of doing an aerial shot and shooting the image from above. I’d assembled this sort of Christmas-y cheese tray with nuts and the sort but once I started shooting the cheese and crackers didn’t really seem to fit, so I just looked for other angles. Below is my awful scribbles trying to depict what I had envisioned in my head of what the shot could look like prior to actually shooting.

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I had two strobes for this assignment, my main light coming from above and left of my subject and another from behind right. In the final image I noticed you don’t see as much of my backlight considering I actually had a pourer for milk directly right of the mug, so it blocked out a lot of that light. Still I’m happy with the result because I rather like the shadows caused by the candy cane and towers of marshmallows.

Just a taste of fashion

Later on this week I will be posting photos focusing on fashion for my most recent assignment in my studio photography class, but here’s a taste of what’s to come!

My classmates and I were given the opportunity to practice with models that came to our class on Monday. Half of the class divided up and went in the studio and the other half worked outside and we swapped after we shot at each location. To my surprise I found it was actually easier working with the models outside because we weren’t confined to just one area so we shot up against walls, statues, and over some train tracks. The models were really troopers being out in the cold  and helping us out. These are two of my favorite shots from that class period, one in the studio and the other outside.

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Aaqilah Abdur-Rasheed, 20, from Southfield, Michigan, models in the studio for the studio photography class at Central Michigan University (CMU) on Monday, Oct. 10. Abdur-Rasheed is a junior at CMU and is pursuing a degree in advertising.

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Merissa McTaggart, 23, from Port Huron, Michigan, poses on the train tracks located on Central Michigan University’s campus on Monday, Oct. 10. McTaggart is pursuing a double major at CMU in biology and psychology.

Studio portraits

This week in the studio we were photographing portraits, images of people with props or something that tells a story about the subject. My models were Amanda and Kendra.

Amanda:

Amanda was a blast to have in the studio. She played a lot of rap music that I’d never heard of and told me a lot about modeling she had done in the past so she was really easy to work with. Amanda plays softball and in recent years has also taken up guitar so we decided to just shoot both since we had enough time.

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Amanda Kelley, 25,  just started playing guitar within the last year. “I’ve always wanted to play an instrument,” Kelley said. “I’m a person that always has to be doing something with my hands.

The image above was taken at f-stop 18, ISO 200, and a 1/160 shutter speed. We started off shooting with her guitar, mostly based on the fact that we forgot her softball bats in her car back at my apartment. (Shout out to my wonderful boyfriend for coming to the studio, getting her keys, going home to get her bats, then bringing them back to us since we only had one hour in the studio).

We also experimented with faraway shots and different poses to try something you don’t see as often when you see someone with a guitar.

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Amanda Kelley, 25, poses with her guitar. “When I was young I would listen to music and half the time I didn’t even hear the lyrics because I was too focused on the instruments,” Kelley said. “My stepdad gave this guitar to me on Christmas last year.”

The image above was taken at f-stop 16, ISO 200 and 1/200 shutter speed.

The softball shots were a lot of fun and it took me so many tries to get a photo of her throwing the ball in the air and actually capturing the ball but I finally got it.

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Amanda Kelley, a broadcast and cinematic arts major at Central Michigan University, throws her softball in the air. “Softball is something I decided to do because I was bored and I loved it,” Kelley said.

This image was taken with the same f-stop 16 and shutter speed of 200 and still at ISO 200. I thought I would have to move it up to capture the ball’s movement, but the flash helped significantly.

I really wanted to share the last photo because it was so random and I told her to give me a face showing me how much of a badass softball player she is. This image is the result of that remark.

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Amanda Kelley gives her game face posing with her softball training bats and softball. “During the summer I would practice 3 or more times per week so I would do better at the games,” Kelley said. “Every game I played was a double header so I wanted to be prepared.”

Kendra:

Kendra saved my butt. I originally had another model lined up and the model messaged me the night before saying he was too swamped and would be unable to meet in the studio anymore. Kendra worked with my boyfriend previously and she responded to an SOS message I put up on Facebook saying that she’d be available during the studio time I had scheduled and could help me out. This is what we came up with.

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Kendra Peabody, 23, is pursuing a degree in family studies at Central Michigan University. Peabody said television shows like Cupcake Wars and Baking Holiday Championships got her into baking. “When I was around 15, I actually helped my neighbor bake my parents an anniversary cake for anniversary,” Peabody said. “That was the first cake I ever got to bake that was completely homemade. It’s always been a dream of mine to own a bakery.”

The image above was taken at ISO 200 with f-stop 16 and a shutter speed of 1/200. I bumped up the shutter speed to make sure we caught the cracking of the egg considering we only brought two.

We ran out of eggs pretty quickly and the concoction that we were making was very pretty smelly and gross looking so we started messing around with the ingredients we had such as flour and we ended up with the image below.

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Kendra Peabody, from Ionia, Michigan, blows flour at the camera.

The image above was taken at f-stop 16 and ISO 200. I set my shutter speed at 1/200 again so we could blur the flour to see movement, yet still stop it enough that you could tell what it was.

For the shoot, Kendra brought her mixer from home and we had also brought measuring cups, flour, eggs, and an assortment of spatulas and anything we might end up wanting to use. But when she walked into the studio she said, “you know I really just want to throw some flour around, could we do that?” And we ended up with that image. It was so much fun to make a mess and really capture the excitement on her face, though we ended up with a lot of images of getting a bunch of flour in her hair.

Hands on in studio

This semester I’m taking a class on studio techniques and lighting taught by Kent Miller and Monday was our first time shooting in the studio. We each had to come up with a costume of sorts because we would be photographing our classmates as well as being photographed ourselves. I spent the entirety of the three weeks advance notice on this subject torturing myself on what I wanted to bring as my costume, what would represent me as a person. I could bring my longboard or my skateboard but I felt like I’m not so good at skating that I’d label myself as a skater. I also thought about bringing all my photo and video gear but I nixed that idea the quickest. I likened it to going to a culinary school and on the first day when the teacher asks you about yourself and you go, “well I like to cook.” Even though photojournalism is a huge part of who I am, I wanted to show a different aspect of me. An hour before class I still hadn’t decided what I was going to do until it just clicked. I’m a huge book nerd. I had my first Amazon account when I was 11 so that I could buy books and I have three bookcases in my bedroom spewing books all over. I stuffed as many as I could of those in my bag and headed off to class.

The last part of class is when we got to shoot and I saw my classmates pull out some really creative and cool ideas such as body paint, gas masks, and even a Stormtrooper. I started to low-key panic thinking I possibly missed the memo and I should have thought of an idea that was wearable, like the masks, so I tried to be one of the last to be photographed so that I could have time to set up. I ended up being paired up with this girl whose name I don’t yet know, but I was incredibly grateful because she had a really friendly smile and put me at ease. I was the model first so I dumped all my my books on the floor in the studio and stacked them as fast as I could and perched on that like a chair with my favorite Anne Bishop book in my hand then wondered the whole time if I had stacked the books to fast because they seemed super wobbly and I was really hoping I wouldn’t fall and make an idiot of myself. And Praise the Sun, I didn’t fall.

Now finally the photos. (Click images to enlarge).

We started by getting a full body shot, then medium, then a closeup. I shot each image at ISO 200 with and f-stop 18 and 1/160 shutter speed. For this particular assignment with my model I really thought that the close up was the best because the far shots distanced the model and made it harder to see the love and pride she has for Michigan.