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Old 03-09-2019, 10:37 PM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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First Still Life Set-up

Hi there, I am an artist wanting to set-up and photograph my own still life compositions, from which I can hopefully produce a painting. My photography skill has so far been limited to a cell phone, but have recently purchased a SLR camera and a light wand. I post my first attempt in the hope that someone can tell me where I can improve, or what, by sheer luck, I have done right! The camera I have is an Olympus E-M10 II, and the light source was a Yongnuo YN360 wand light. Cheers, Robbie.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:34 AM
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frodron frodron is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Many photographers use photo editing software such as Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) to enhance their pictures
In your case your camera can take what is known as Camera Raw which needs Photoshop to use it. This is used by many proffessional photographers.
It might be an idea to go onto Youtube to check out both Photoshop and Camera Raw to see if they would be of any interest to you.
I am suggesting this as I think thr right hand side of your picture is too dark and could be improved with either one of these suggestions
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:29 AM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Rob,
You did an incredible job with the lighting. If you were imitating the lightning of the old masters, you nailed it. I got the same light wand for Xmas this year. Aren't they awesome? Your image is a fine example of how well they work.

I like the light falling off the way you intended it to do. Ron might be right saying that it may be a little too dark on the right hand side and thus you lose some interesting details and shadows too. Like the shadow of the apple on the right and the intricate details on the right side of the blue vase which would all work well in your painting to keep the eyes moving about in the composition.

It would be VERY easy, like Ron said, using photo editing software to lighten the shadows on the right side a tad. But if you still have the set up and you haven't eaten the apples, then try again but this time place a white poster board on the right side to bounce a wee bit of light coming from the light wand to light up the shadows a wee bit. You could also drape a white sheet over a chair or something to create a light reflector.

By the way, your still life set up is GREAT. You did a masterful job a arranging the objects and selecting the colors used in the arrangement.

Thanks for sharing and asking for our opinions and suggestions.
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Last edited by Luv2shoot : 03-10-2019 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 02:27 PM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Ron & Lorell, thank you both for your replies, much appreciated.

I have a program called Affinity Photo which is supposed to be similar to Photoshop. I might try to lighten the right side with that.

Lorell I used a piece of white foam board on the right hand side of the set up. You can just see a thin line of light on the right edge of the blue porcelain object. Maybe I need to move it closer, or try something different.

Cheers
Robbie
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:37 PM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Rob,
I noticed that white outline on the right side of the blue vase, that was just one benefit of using the white foam board.

I have Affinity, it is n awesome product. You don't need Photo shop, you just need to learn how to use Affinity. And really, you are only going to made a minor adjustment.

1) open Affinity
2) open your image
3) Duplicate the image by clicking CTL J (if you have a PC or go to the top tool bar, click LAYER, select DUPLICATE from the drop down menu. Never work on the original layer.
4) go back to the top tool bar and select LAYER again.
5) this time go to NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER and from the expanded selection, choose SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS ADJUSTMENT.
6) you will see a box appear at the bottom with sliders. Move the sliders right or left to decrease the shadow.
This adjustment will effect the whole image however.
If you know how to use MASKS, you can target the effect.

There's another way to just target the shadows on the right hand side
1) Repeat steps 1-3
2) Now make sure you are working on the duplicated layer and look at the horizontal tool bar on the left hand side.
3)Select the DODGE tool, from the tool icons. It is mid way down. Roll your cursor over the icons until you see the words BURN BRUSH, DODGE BRUSH Or SPONGE BRUSH. All of those brushes are located in one spot. See the tiny triangle in the lower right corner? Click on it and all three brushes will be exposed.
4) Select the DODGE brush and paint over the area you want to lighte,

I hope this helps.
Lorell
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Last edited by Luv2shoot : 03-10-2019 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:24 AM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Thanks Lorell, that certainly does help. I've tinkered with it, what do you think?

Cheers
Robbie

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Old 03-11-2019, 07:38 AM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Robbie,

If the painting turns out only half as good as your photo, you'll have two winners. I love the light in your photo; I too was reminded of the light so beautifully depicted by some of the old masters (I'm thinking Vermeer or Rembrandt) of oil painting.

Personally, I like how right side fades into dark in your original version. It's an example of what I think is called "lost and found edges" and that is a look or technique often praised in paintings, but for some reason is seen as a defect in photographs.
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:30 AM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Ah, Dave is so smart. I see what he is saying. I have not studied the masters. But I have been advised to lighter the shadows in some of my photographs.

I think it does improve the image of the photograph but you will have to decide which version to use as the painter.

As a photograph, I like seeing A little more detail in the right side, especially the shadow of the apple. I think it adds depth to the composition. Do you think that you will paint it?
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:08 AM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Thanks Dave and Lorell, your comments are very encouraging. I am drawn to the technique of chiaroscuro when painting still life, and had that in mind when setting up the photo. I think I will paint it, I just haven't decided which version to go for. Of course, I could always try version 2 first, and if I didn't like it, just darken it on the easel.

An artist friend of mine made the comment that the blue vase and the jug might be competing a bit as the focal point. This did occur to me at the time of shooting, but thought that the addition of the foliage in the jug might offset that. Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers
Robbie
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:04 AM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Robbie,
When you finish your painting, I hope you return and post a photo of it in this thread. We would love to see it.

LORELL
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:35 AM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

I will Lorell, but only paint as a hobby, so it might take a while to finish it.

Really appreciate all the comments and advice I've received from everyone.

Cheers
Robbie
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:53 PM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Beautiful still life! I think your tinkered one has improved it. Good work!! I love the old world golden light on your items. Very nice choice!
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:22 AM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Thanks Natalie, still not sure which one I'll paint yet.

Cheers
Robbie
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:03 PM
RobBur RobBur is offline
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Hi Lorell, as promised, here's the finished painting.

Cheers
Robbie

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Old 06-07-2019, 08:51 PM
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Re: First Still Life Set-up

Stunning photography. Beautiful painting. As I was reading the thread, not knowing how old it was, I was thinking that your initial photo was perfect as a reference for a painting. I was hoping you would not "improve" it. LOL! The dark shadows are very important, as Dave said. (Not in those exact words...) I think that when you take photos for reference, you don't want to be too exacting, trying to be perfect, but if you get a good composition and good lights and shadows, you can make a great painting from it. In this case, I think the photo and the painting both are wonderful. Yes, they both remind me of the old masters. Beautiful. 😄
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