photography

FBF // Serendipitous Natural Light

One of the first projects Nissa and I worked on together as Page + Pixel was shooting the style photography for Amy Gibson’s Quilt Block Cookbook for Lucky Spool. It was a big project with loads of bird’s eye/layflat shots and Nissa and I wanted to add some variety to the images somehow. Susanne—publisher and editor for Lucky Spool—had a vision of a person holding up the quilt blocks so we went ahead with that cute concept.

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It was one of those perfectly-overcast-but-not-too-overcast days and Nissa positioned us perpendicular to the floor-to-ceiling windows. This gave us some warm yet diffused autumn light. We were so excited by the natural shadow and depth that came through! Not only were we able to capture Amy’s impeccable fabric combinations, but the diffused side light allowed her beautiful block construction to be seen through the fabric. Perfect for this book full of block recipes!

Can’t go wrong when skill and serendipity are in sync.

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What are some of your favorite serendipitous photography moments?

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Kristy

Quilt Block Cookbook
Style Photography: Page + Pixel
Publisher: Lucky Spool Media
Author: Amy Gibson


Photo Styling // The Surface Matters

Bird’s eye, layflats, still life….whatever you call them, these are photos that require a surface to be shot on. With the camera positioned just above the subject, the styling will rely on a more graphic look due to the lack of dimension that will come from the angle of the camera. As simple as these types of photos appear, they do require a fair amount of propping and styling. It can be quite fun to create interesting lines and juxtapositions within the photo composition, but when you are short on time or on a tight budget, giving some extra thought to the surface that you’re shooting on can elevate your photos without a ton of effort.

The following images were taken for Heidi Staples’ new book, Patchwork USA (Lucky Spool Media). We played with a lot of surfaces in the styling for this book in order to achieve a warm, nostalgic aesthetic. By swapping out the different surfaces, we were able to keep the styling minimal so that the projects took center stage.

Color Book // Shot on the reverse side of a quilt in order to give a warm, sweet feeling to the image.

Color Book // Shot on the reverse side of a quilt in order to give a warm, sweet feeling to the image.

The window light was perfect in one of the bedrooms of the home we were shooting in. In order for the shot to make sense near that gorgeous light, we laid down a quilt with the back side up so that the top design didn’t distract from the Color Book project. The result was a textured and colorful backdrop for the cloth books. The color and the pattern immediately indicate that this is a project for children.

Scout’s Honor Pencil Case // Shot on top of a vintage map.

Scout’s Honor Pencil Case // Shot on top of a vintage map.

A strong theme that runs throughout Patchwork USA is that of road trips. Heidi sent us tons of vintage maps and postcards to use in the photography and one of my favorite ways to use the maps was as a background surface. Laying out the map adds a wonderful graphic quality to the image and it helps carry the road trip theme. Best of all, it was so easy!

Curio Pocket // Shot on top of a vintage steamer trunk.

Curio Pocket // Shot on top of a vintage steamer trunk.

Nissa and I have a favorite piece of perfectly weathered wood. It has the best tone and texture and it is very tempting to use it in every photo…everything looks beautiful on it! But we want to keep our images feeling new and one-of-a-kind, so we decided to play around with shooting on this vintage steamer trunk that belonged to my Grandpa. We love it!! So much life and texture is added to the photo from simply placing the projects on the edge of this trunk and by utilizing the brass details. Simple and effective!

Beachcomber Drawstring Bag // Shot on a vinyl seat.

Beachcomber Drawstring Bag // Shot on a vinyl seat.

Serving multiple purposes, this vinyl seat was the perfect place to shoot this drawstring pouch. Indicating “road trip” as it is the bench seat inside a Shasta, adding an easy pop of color to the image, and creating some visual texture with the stitching on the seat, we loved using this surface as an easy way to tell a story.

While all of these projects would have looked great on our favorite weathered wood, the varied surfaces do more to tell the author’s story and really bring each of the projects to life.

What are some of your favorite surfaces to shoot on?

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Kristy

Patchwork USA
Book Design + Photography: Page + Pixel
Publisher: Lucky Spool Media
Author: Heidi Staples


Light.

Being successful at photography, no matter what you are shooting, is all a matter of light.

Learning to harness it is a lifelong pursuit. See it, read it, bounce it, make it, love it, hate it. Become it's keeper.

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It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have, or what kind of gear you have. If you cannot harness light you cannot steadily make good photographs.

Even though I have been shooting for 10 years now, I regularly have my mind blown by something I didn't see before. It is one of my favorite things. Never ever stop watching, learning, trying.

Follow the light.

What are we all working on? Anyone want to talk about how good or bad light is being to them today?

When Angela Walters Sends Us Quilts // Photo Promo

I am always so humbled when you all send your quilts for us to photograph. The artistry and craftsmanship that go into making those beauties is astounding. And last week was no exception when we received a box from Angela Walters. Unable to resist waiting until the scheduled photoshoot, Nissa and I decided that we had better take out the quilts to...ahem...do some measurements and...you know...check out the fabric choices so that we could...*cough cough*...consider our lighting options. I mean, would you be able to resist?

Cover quilt of Angela Walters' latest pattern,  Sprockets.

Cover quilt of Angela Walters' latest pattern, Sprockets.

And speaking of beauties, how about Spring Quilt Market?! After everything that we saw via Instagram (wow!), Nissa and I got to talking and thought that some of you would need/want/love photos of those samples and projects that were made for the show. Knowing that you are all busy forging ahead with new ideas and business opportunities secured at market, we'd love to help you with those photos! 

For one week, Page + Pixel is offering our Bulk Photography pricing for single quilts! Instead of needing to have 3 quilts finished and ready for photography, you can go ahead and send us that 1 from the show or that 1 that you just HAVE to have a photo of.

BOOK WITH US BEFORE JUNE 1** to receive the Bulk Photography rate.
**Quilts/projects for photography must be scheduled for delivery by July 20, 2016.

Go on, dig through that pile of quilts sitting over there and pull out the gems. We'll help you check some photos off of your list!

Kristy
DESIGN//STYLE

Better Photography: Understanding Depth of Field When Photographing Your Work

Last week Kristy shared a post with you about Photo Styling and how MORE can be MORE when propping. 

This week I'm going to jump off her post and talk about how depth of field affects your image, especially when you're trying to create a beautiful shot while still keeping the attention directed at your quilt, pillow, bag, etc.

Depth of Field is a large concept that I can't completely teach you in this one small blog post. But what I'd like to do is give you guys a good idea of how you can quickly improve upon your images just by paying more attention to your camera's settings to make better use of depth of field in your images. (Don't worry, though - lots of amazing stuff is in the works at Page + Pixel, and soon enough I will be able to teach you about depth of field and many more things. Stay tuned!)  

WHAT IS DEPTH OF FIELD (DOF)?  When your lens focuses, it is focusing at one single point. However, there is an area both in front of and behind this focus point that will be sharp. The area that is well in focus and sharp is not fixed and changes depending on the aperture you select (fstop), how far away you are from your subject, and the distance of the lens you're using (which is affected by zooming in and out). It can be described as wide or shallow - wide meaning more is in focus, shallow meaning less is in focus. 

You're going to be using your aperture - or your fstop - as the primary way you adjust depth of field. Aperture settings can be confusing. Who the heck knows what those numbers mean?! You definitely don't need to. Keep it simple by remembering this: bigger number=bigger DOF. Smaller number=smaller DOF. 

These days, it's all the rage to shoot images that use a very narrow DOF.  This is achieved with lenses that have very wide apertures, like f2.8, f1.8, f1.4. We say they're dreamy - because much of the photo is blurred with thick, swirling color. The problem I often see, however, is that because depth of field is incorrectly understood, what should be in focus - your work - is lost because it's unsharp and the image is more about being dreamy and less about composition. 

On the OTHER hand, you'll get yourself in to trouble using a depth of field that is too wide, too. When everything is in focus, everything has the same level of importance. Sometimes, people who are afraid to shoot images that are not in focus enough go with super wide DOF to make sure that they don't mess up. 

I know, I know. Here comes Nissa, the Photo Police. 

But hear me out. 

I want your images to sell your work. You know - that amazing thing you just spent hours, days, weeks of your life designing, sewing and finishing. I want to see the fabric. The stitching. The texture. I also want to see an image that's engaging, and directs my eye to what I should be focusing on. 

You can make big changes and get better images easily by simply paying attention to your depth of field and making some small adjustments to your camera settings. 

Here's the image that Kristy shared with you last week. It's a simple pillow, so it looks great surrounded with beautiful busy and vibrant propping.  I've got to choose a depth of focus that's going to sell the pillow and make Kristy's styling choices work. For the sake of this blog post, I shot the photo using four different f-stops: f1.4, f2.8, f4.0 and f7.1. 

Before I tell you which of these images I chose, I want you to pick the one you would choose. Why would you choose it? What is working? 
 

Here's the one I chose: 
 

At f2.8, the pillow is beautifully in focus on all edges and it's sharp. The background is blurred enough that my eye is directed toward the pillow first. 

I liked the image at f1.4 because I felt that the pillow really stood out against a more blurred background. But what I didn't like is that the super narrow DOF made it so that the bottom half of the pillow was unsharp and was looking sloppy. That's a no-go. 

At f4.0 the background is too sharp and not sharp enough. Total eye confusion. And at 7.1, everything is sharp and in focus, which looks crisp but doesn't direct my attention enough toward the pillow. 

Really simple adjustments can help you guys make better use of depth of field and get better images today. Play around and try manipulating your settings to see what happens. 

I can't wait to see what you're going to make! 

Nissa
PHOTOGRAPHY