Studio work

Winter is coming, and I’m trespassing on my husband’s garage…Why? Because it’s nice and warm – and has room for a (very simple but still) studio!

Yep! I’m all set for winter. It’s not a lot of fancy stuff, most of it is second hand, but it works! Two large softboxes with continuous light. Some backgrounds. A fake-floor. Some cheap props.

I’m having so much fun!

My own dog is really easy to photograph, a trained model who loves to work with whatever I bring home.

Do you want to train your own dog to be a Top Dog Model? There’s an online course in the making right now… Just saying… ūüėČ

I’m learning about studio lights, fixing the background in post, trying to get that personality showing.

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It’s really fascinating. And I get to work with different kind of breeds, colors, and furs.

I just love finding the right ways to combine training and photography. It’s all about happy dogs!

So…All set for winter! And one step closer to my dream ūüôā

Pug mania!

I’m getting to know some of the sweet photography spots in my forest by now. It’s a really cool place, within 30 minutes of walking I have some very different areas. Today, I worked with a special model.

Meet Johnny Pug – the coolest Pug in the forest!

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his is about 20 meters from the main road. Already the forest is all around us, no sight of any cars. No sight of anything man made in fact…(except the pathway).

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A bit further is the deforestation site I’ve used before. At the edge of it, the stones are covered in moss.

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Perfect lookout place for a small dog!

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At the end of the site, the pathway divides in two. We started to the right.

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After a short bit, there grows a lot of these plants – perfect as a shelter for a pug!

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A bit of play and fun with Mom on the way.

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Johny here is ninja-trained. Do not try this with an untrained dog.

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And sometimes not all lights are on Johnny…His human “brother” is just as cute!

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Not only lions live in the high grass that we found about ten minutes later. 

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And to top it all off: heather! Loads and loads of heather!

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“Luckily I’m secure in my manlihood. I can pose with pink flowers just as good as any bitch!”

I feel like I’ve moved to photo paradise… ūüėÄ

Easy like sunday morning

It’s 5.30 Sunday morning. Husband is asleep, I am awake because the sheep started baaa-ing for food and we have neighbors. Dogs are with me. It’s cloudy but warm, all is quiet (as soon as the sheep are fed).

Instead of going back to bed, I fetch my camera and my Lensbaby velvet 56. This morning I feel like photographing slowly, look for compositions and details, and just fill my head with here and now.

The dogs find their spots in the grass and watch me move slowly, looking at flowers, grass, bushes, anything that catches my eye. When I get more than ten meters away, they get up and find a new spot a bit closer. We are a family. Families stick together.

I forget about the time and take about 50 photos of a rosehip bush. And then 50 more of some raspberries. And so on. My Lensbaby forces me to go slow, set focus manually, really look at my mage before I shoot. It’s really relaxing.

So, these photos are just for me. Full of Sunday morning, summer, dogs by my side, and doing what I love.

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This weekend I had a shoot with Jenny. I wanted to do something in Game of Thrones-style, and use a friends dogs to be “wolves” (small, but still). I had a clear idea of the final result, and we had a lot of fun trying to achieve the right poses, fight the mosquitos, get the dogs to cooperate, keep the dresses up (a bit too big), and keep little sister busy…

Behind the scenes a shoot can look something like this:

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After about 90 minutes, I had all I wanted and more. Finished result after some work in photoshop to get the fairytale feeling:

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And, of course, little sister got a quick portrait ūüôā

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It’s a lot of fun to get to work with a theme like this! Thank you all those involved in the process!

 

Posing boot-camp

I never pose the people I photograph, I work with moment design and work with the poses that come naturally.

But. I want to be able to pose someone if I have the need, to have the skill! So in order to learn, I searched the internet after a photographer who works like that, and give classes. I found Meg Bitton, and am currently in her Posing Boot-camp.

This week’s assignment is posing a single subject. I borrowed a friend’s daughter yesterday, and got to work – trying to remember all the “do’s” and “don’ts”. My model was absolutely fantastic and tried everything I asked for without hesitation, despite mosquitos and nettles.

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Bend, twist, and turn. All limbs visible (at least partly). Hands relaxed.

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Take the photo slightly from above, to enhance the eyes.

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And remember location! Where is the light? How can I make her stand out?

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I love this photo, despite the flaws (her right hand is not placed in a good way). That look…

When I had tried all my ideas – some worked, some most certainly did NOT work, she got to play around a bit on her own:

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Really like this pose! Relaxed, with movement, twists and bends for interesting shapes. Hands relaxed.

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And this light! All limbs visible, slightly diagonal lines, beautiful.

So far so good! I look forward to more sessions and experiments! And yes, this will be in my repertoire. Soon.

Lensbaby Burnside 35

It was only a matter of time before my Lensbaby velvet 56 got a friend. As I love swirly bokeh, often use 35mm, and always add a vignette when I edit, the choice was easy. Burnside 35.

I got it yesterday, and this is the very first photo:

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I wanted to make the most of that swirlyness!

I have read that some photographers have had a hard time adjusting to the Burnside 35, but (as I almost already knew) we became instant friends.

So far, I have only had the aperture set to the largest: f/2,8. It gives the perfect effect for my taste. The “golden slider” that controls the vignette is set as dark as possible. I love, love, love how it looks!

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As you can see, the swirlyness is dependant on the background. It gives a nice creamy bokeh, beautifully matte colours, and is crisp and sharp with a painterly feel at f/2,8. It’s very different from the velvet56, a perfect complement!

I also found it much easier to focus. Then I realized that:

  1. I had my lenses on = my eyes function properly
  2. f/2,8 instead of f/2
  3. And i’s easier to see what’s sharp when there is no glow – but the glow and supersoftness is what I love about the velvet 56.

My lensbaby obsession continues…

And so does my obsession with the magnolia in the garden. These are with the velvet 56.

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Lensbaby velvet 56 + Fujifilm x-t2

A few weeks ago I chatted with a friend about different lenses to the x-t2, and she dropped “you should get a lensbaby. I think you would like it!”.

Hmmm…I had looked at lensababy before, but only manual focus…seems difficult! But when I start thinking about something I often have a hard time letting it go. I wonder how much they cost? Where can I get them? Ooops…kind of ordered one…

It arrived yesterday. And I’m hooked.

A lensbaby is a toy, a lens that gives a velvety feel to the images. It’s sharp in the middle, and makes the highlights bleed a bit, like a glow. With a small aperture the effect is very subtle, with a big aperture the dof gets very narrow and the soft effect is very clear. It’s not for every image, but I’m learning as I go…

First of all, when I put the lens on I couldn’t take a single photo. Thank god for Youtube, where I quickly learned that I needed to enable shooting without a lens. Problem solved.

The tulips above are the first two photos I took. Then I brought the camera for my dog walk, and tried it on different motivs, with different apertures:

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I love the effect on the bokeh, it almost looks like under water. The lens is sharp and I can get really close to my motivs.

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I was a bit nervous about the manual focus, but it was a lot easier than I thought. As you can see I missed it a couple of times, but with a little training it will be fine. I set my camera to focus-peaking, it made it a lot easier to see where focus is (it’s outlined in white or red).

I also tried some wider shots. You can clearly see the difference the size of aperture makes.

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I Think I need some more experimenting here, to know what works and what doesn’t work for me. My learning curve is pretty steep, but it’s far from done!

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I really like this one, the softness works really well with the small feather.

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As this feather is a bit more textured, I chose a slightly smaller aperture.

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Here you can clearly see the effect of blur all around the edges. I have to think a bit differently to make it work to my advantage (not sure about this one…)

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My favorite of the day. I love everything about this photo, the difference between soft and sharp, the colors, the composition.

So pleased with my lensbaby! Yes, it’s a “one trick pony”, but what a trick!

Frost

It’s getting cold in Sweden, and during the morning walk with the dogs, the ground was covered in frost.

Frost is beautiful! It really brings out shapes and adds texture, and the world looks different. I like to look for shapes and composition, and frost makes it easier to see as it defines edges and exaggerates lines.

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I look for some things in particular:

Contrast.

 

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The ice breaks in interesting shapes, this one looks like the letter “K”.

Edges.

 

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Frost gathers around the edges, and make beautiful sprinkly shapes.

Lines.

 

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I also love the colours on this one!

Curves.

 

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Again, the colours really add to the photo. I love this one.

Repetition.

 

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And a short DOF to add a bit of composition.

Maybe I will manage through this winter after all!

 

 

 

 

 

Feed your creativity

You need fuel.

I mean, your BODY needs fuel, obviously, but so does your creativity. So does your mind.

I find that it’s easy to get lazy. It’s easy to do what you know will work, use the settings you are familiar with, use the poses you know will look good. Let’s face it: it’s easy to get stuck…(There is, of course, a possibility that this only applies to me – but I don’t think so.)

What you feed your body is easy, but what do you feed your mind? Let me share some of my best tips!

  • Join a photo community. An FB-group is one possibility if you find a good one. A site like Youpic, Gurushots, 500px, or Swedish¬†Fotosidan is another good option. Engage. Comment.
  • Learn more. In Sweden we have Moderskeppet, internationally I like CreativLive and Skillshare. (Oh, by the way, I can get you two months free on Skillshare! Follow THIS LINK! I love¬†Skillshare…)
  • Get inspired by social media. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook…Follow people whose work you admire.
  • Try a new field of creativity! I have recently started drawing and painting, something I looooved¬†doing as a child but haven’t done in…20 years…
  • Get inspired by other great artists. Go to an exhibition. I love Louisiana in Denmark, but I also visit my local galleries and museums. Even the camera store shows photos by local artists from time to time!
  • Join a challenge. From time to time, there are challenges to participate in that gives you a task or subject, you create your image, and upload it with other participants.
  • Compete. Not to win. Just to produce a certain¬†kind of photo, that you think will fit the contest. It’s all about participating!

There is one more thing I think you already do, but maybe you don’t think of it as feeding your creativity: watch moving pictures. Films, series, shows. The basics of how to create a mood,¬†with¬†light and composition and colours, are the same in moving pictures as in photos. Film-makers are often very, VERY good at this!

I started watching Stranger Things this Monday, and apart from being an awesome series, it is beautiful to watch! They use just about every trick in the book – and it works. I freeze my screen multiple times each episode and just look at the details in light and composition that creates the mood in the scene.

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Both photos from google

Next time you look at a film – watch for the small details that build the scene. Get inspired. Feed your creativity.

Halloween is closing in!

I love to do theme-photos. Halloween is extra fun because there are no limits! Inspired by a favourite book this is my Halloween contribution for this year. I hope you like it!

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It’s a bit obvious, I know, but it was a lot of fun! Happy Halloween everybody!