School Lunches

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Creating something that lasts

Over the years I have learned I will take on about any creative project. However, projects that require a lot of steps, waiting, patience... are not my strength. I get bored halfway through painting a room. In fact, I have a beautiful armoire that I have been in the process of refinishing for months. (Actually, it sat for about a month, I spent a day on it, then I haven't gotten back to it.) I prefer lots of projects that I can complete quickly. I've had a hard time deciding where my strength is creatively because there are some areas that I am incredibly detail oriented (plating and food styling for example) but some things that I can't stand taking extra time to pay attention to details (like sewing). I completely agree quality is more important than quantity but I can usually 'fake' pretty good quality in a pretty short amount of time. There are some creative areas that I don't mind having mediocre skills, but I couldn't handle my photography being below-average.

A couple years ago I invested in my first DSLR camera. Unfortunately, I spent the first year too intimidated by all the manuals, tutorials, settings that I just left it on auto and snapped hundreds of pictures hoping to get a few good ones. I learned quickly that our house has incredibly poor lighting so I almost always used my flash which rarely resulted in the image I wanted. Slowly, I started learning a few tips and tricks that I've used over the last year and I've seen some improvement. However, when my husband purchased me a new lens this past Christmas knowing that I wanted something that would be ideal for the photographs I would be blogging, I decided it was time to invest a little more time into learning. After just a half hour of one-on-one instruction from my brother over Christmas finally gave me the confidence I needed to start attempting to use my camera in manual and try to create the type of food photography I've drooled over for years.

I always assumed people who took those amazing photos must have an entire home that was taken straight from a Pottery Barn catalog. But, at least for me, that is not the case. I want to show you just how simple my setup is that I've been working with the last couple weeks. That said, I have A LOT to learn, but I finally am taking the time to learn.

I use a TV tray. Yes, a TV tray. Not a beautiful shabby chic hardwood dining table. A TV tray pulled up against our living room window. I bought about a dozen 12x12 vinyl backdrop samples off Etsy, which are the perfect size for me. I also have a growing collection of random dishes. That was actually on my Christmas list - single, mismatching, interesting dishes. Luckily, I have a pretty amazing brother who actually went out shopping for a handful of unique pieces for me.

So here it is, my amazing setup.

No matter what food, art, or memories we create, basic photography skills are a way to capture those creations forever. It's a way to document your growth and I'm hoping by the end of the year I can look back at these photos with a critical, yet positive, eye and notice growth in my own journey developing these skills. 

Here are some of my favorite shots over the past couple weeks, taken on the tv tray, with the vinyl mat, next to the big window in the living room. 

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