Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY White Sheet Backdrop {weekly challenge}


This week I was challenged to try portraits with props.  I thought about how I would pull this off.  I don’t really have any other models, besides my babies.  Which lets face, they are pretty models.  But I wanted to try something new and different, and hopefully learn something along the way also.  Then it hit me, one of the blogs I follow (Bower Power) has a tutorial under her photography tab about creating a white backdrop (you can read it here).  I’ve always LOVED her technique and thought it was brilliant of her to use a sheet and take the pictures outside, yet they look like studio portraits.  I also wanted to make sure that I stayed along with this week's challenge of using a prop in a portrait.  I’ve been working on learning my nifty fifty lens and I’m making myself NOT take it off my camera until I feel better about using it.  But I also have been wanting to start seasonal “photo shoots” of the babies.  So this week’s challenge just happened to tie all three together, at least I thought it was a perfect opportunity!  So here’s what went down.


To the back yard we went.  I had two chairs, Stitch stuffed animal, my tripod and camera, a crop (stool), and two different “sheets”.  Ok, time for the truth, I don’t own a white sheet or even off white, so I just used fabric I had in my sewing stuff.  I also wanted to try something different so I took burlap with me to see how that would look.  I looked for the shade to begin with, but wasn’t loving my pics, then moved to the sun and realized that the shadows were terrible so moved back to the shade.  I don’t know about you other photographers out there, but I cannot NO MATTER WHAT, tell exactly what my pictures looks like by looking at my LCD screen.  In fact, in most cases I don’t look at it anymore because it ticks me off and I get frustrated…so I just wait til I get the pictures into photoshop to edit and analyze them.  I wish I could use the screen on the camera because I know I cold improve my pictures…anyway back to my portraits!


At first the babies were game for sitting on the sheet and letting me snap a few.  That lasted about thirty seconds, then it was time to play.  Mommy’s sheets, chairs, and tripod were quickly boring to them.


Stitch was the perfect model to practice settings on.  I placed him where I would place the babies (my subject) and got busy tweaking my aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  When I finally got the settings close to what I wanted I begged a baby to replace Stitch.


Baby girl was the first one to pop in but she wanted Stitch in the picture with her.  We snapped a few and she was done.  I had a few things to tweak still.


So I set my timer and I popped in.


After I sat down, then the babies wanted to join me.


The whole time I was trying to get little man’s picture, baby girl kept playing peeping Tom.


I wasn’t digging the white, and I wanted to use my prop so I switched it for the burlap.  I love the ones with the burlap.


I didn’t have enough room to have the babies sitting on the chair so I told them to “rest” on it…haha and this is what we got!  Hey, they are toddlers I guess this is pretty good considering!


My favorite of the day! 


So there is my attempt at the “portraits with prop” challenge, a somewhat fall photo shoot (yes I will have a re-do of this) and testing out the DIY White Sheet Backdrop.  I may not have gotten the best pictures but I did learn a good bit!


*Toddlers will only look at the camera when they want

*I much rather have pictures taken "actions” instead of “posed”

*A shaded spot outside with good light is better than direct sun

*My lens can go as low as f1.8, but I prefer to stay around 2.8 or 3.5

*I need to work on my depth of field because I’m not happy with the amount of blur in my pictures

*I LOVE my photoshop. I learned about saturation, and layer masks from this challenge and the Bower Power tutorial.


I’m really enjoying these challenges and each week I learn a little more, I hope to continue them in hopes of really improving my photography!

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