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September 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Monday, November 5, 2012

Photographing Still Life

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Still Life Photography in the Carriage House Studio
I thought I would share a few photography tips I use to photograph still life. I take these photos every month to use in my workshops as painting exercises. They are great for the first day of the workshop for learning how to apply paint with a palette knife.  In my October workshops we painted pumpkins and we will paint these in my November and December workshops.

The photo above shows my "photography studio". Actually it's just a counter top in my Carriage House Studio that I quickly set up. You can set up a similar "studio" just about anywhere! I have one of my glass palettes on the bottom (which are normally used to mix paint in my workshops), a piece of hardboard as a back drop and I use my leftover scrapbooking paper for the background. For a light source I attach one of my cheap hardware store lights to a table top easel. 

I took about 200 photos during this photo shoot, which is about typical. I constantly move the light source, change the items and configuration of the set up and change the background. I used pears, a pomegranate, apples and holiday ornaments for this photo shoot. I use a manual setting on my 35mm camera that allows just enough light but no flash.

As I take the photos I am looking to capture great light on the objects, shapes, shadows and reflections in the glass. I try to get exaggerated shadows that can easily be painted in shapes in my workshops. I upload all of the photos to iphoto and crop and edit the photos. Here are a few of the finalized photos from my photo shoot. You will see the completed paintings of some of these photos on my blog in the next few days as I start teaching tomorrow in Newport Beach.




I am writing a book about Palette Knife Painting which should be available sometime in early 2013. There is a chapter about photographing your art which includes still life set ups as well as photographing your completed paintings.

My fourth annual "Twelve Days of Christmas" promotion starts next month. Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog posts so you don't miss out. I'll be giving away over $1000 worth of free stuff!


Image and video hosting by TinyPic Check out my upcoming palette knife painting workshops at http://www.saetastudio.com/Leslie_Saeta_fine_Art/Workshops.html.

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