Tips for creating a home photo studio

When I started my Etsy shop two years ago, there were a lot of things I had to do that were totally outside of my comfort zone. One of those things (a huge and important thing) was to learn how to take good and clear photographs. When selling handmade items, one piece of advice that is repeated as gospel is to take clear images in great lighting; that tell a story about the product; and that show off as many details about texture and colour as can be in a high resolution format.

That is a geeky way of saying that you really gotta learn how to make someone buy your product all through sight! Of course there are other factors that help people decide to buy your handmade item, but that’s a topic in a blog post for another day 😉

First thing: employ the ownership of a 3 light lamp on a sturdy stand. 3 lights are best not because of aesthetic, but because they can be moved and aimed to point at your handmade object in a way that enough light hits it. Think: laser beams!

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A three light lamp on a vertical stand- you can pick one of these up at Home Depot, Lowes, Home Hardware, or whatevs.

Below we see a photo stage set with a mannequin. In order to get a smooth and uniform backdrop, I hanged a white poly material from the wall. This backdrop is really best when either totally white (or as close as you can get) because the light shined from your lamp needs to be “bounced back” at the camera to ensure a well illuminated photo.

Easy trick to help remember: Optics= studying how light is captured and refracted to enhance/change images. I’m sure there is a more scholarly explanation that that of course; but that’s a basic grade 8 review 🙂

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Notice the two lamps above and below – my camera is set up between the two: peeking through stand’s branches

Once the stage is set and the light hits all of the areas that you want to highlight, take a few test pictures to see whether you should use flash (or not); set a widescreen image; or fiddle around with any camera settings that you like to use.

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Green Hemp apron with green frills- a feminine design by LillyBoChic

Final product: a cropped image with the brightness and contrast increased slightly.

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Green Hemp apron with green frills- a feminine design by LillyBoChic

For a non-professional photograph, I think it captures all of the elements that I had hoped for. I really like how crisp and clear the photo is- you can see the blue chalk lines on the garment (a temporary marking of course) that I used to line up each pocket.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

-S

Reflections on Doors, Passageways, and Entrances

I had a desire to capture photos of a topic that has intrigued me…Entryways.

And really: why not? For the most part, we all use them at least twice a day.  I wondered if much thought is given to them- despite being the entrance to our homes and secret places.

Toronto Doors view from the sidewalk. A purple door with mauve wainscotting aside a brown bi-fold door with dark wood stain.
Toronto Doors view from the sidewalk. A purple door with mauve wainscoting aside a brown bi-fold door with dark wood stain.

This semi-detached home caught my eye because of the contrast between the front doors of the homes. Violet and mauve on one side, is contrasted with dark brown wood stain on the other. If you look at the detailing of the entryway, you can see that the design of the opening is pretty much the same on either door; however, the bi-fold door on the left is likely original to the construction.

A black and gold door with a large glass lite insert on a street in downtown Toronto Canada. The homes have only street parking, but large front yard and large tree-foliage patches.
A black and gold door with a large glass lite insert on a street in downtown Toronto Canada. The homes have only street parking, but large front yard and large tree-foliage patches.

I really enjoy the above door. To me, it is regal yet betrays a softness by allowing a large lite in the middle. A small gold door knocker adorns the door also further highlighting the gold on black scheme.

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Not exactly sequitur, but the label on this door just screamed out “Vice magazine!”; like something you would see in the background of a photo shoot for some Toronto clothing boutique. I also love the presumption of the door on the left. I bet they thought “Screw it, let 8b have the number on the door. If they’re looking for 8a and they can’t figure it out, then we don’t want to have that visitor!”

I have a fleeting imagination..

 

Toronto (3)

 

Another tear down on its way to being built up. This one of the average-looking modern entrances one sees commonly these days in Toronto.  The doorway definitely gains points by being painted a dark color (and having not too many and not too few hardware pieces like a letter slot and door knocker); however the style of the home just so totally minimizes my ability to “love” this entrance as it is narrow and would leave me feeling claustrophobic.

That’s all for now- thanks for stopping by!

-S.

Just Sewed: Apron inspired by Dorothy from Wizard of Oz

A recent apron design I came up with over the holiday break is the “Dorothy”.

Dorothy Apron- A Blue Gingham-frilled border on a sheer hemp bodice. Finished with a white satin ribbon
Dorothy Apron- A Blue Gingham-frilled border on a sheer hemp bodice. Finished with a white satin ribbon

The name is due to the blue gingham frills that border the all natural hemp bodice of the apron; and their likeness to the blue gingham that the character Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz (film adaptation starring Judy Garland).

Dorothy Apron- A Blue Gingham-frilled border on a sheer hemp bodice. Finished with a white satin ribbon
Dorothy Apron- A Blue Gingham-frilled border on a sheer hemp bodice. Finished with a white satin ribbon

What I like the most about this piece is that there is evidence of an emerging style in the LillyBoChic line. Admirers of my designs will notice that feminine bodice shapes will often have frills or colors suggesting softness. I think that it is very necessary to allow people who identify with femininity and cherish it, to have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves within its examples.

Therefore: flirty aprons are a must!

That being said; I also think that femininity has a hard edge- something that tells the world that we (feminine types) are willing to get out hands dirty to get the job done. What is so dirty, you might ask? Well, I suppose that is left to the imagination of the wearer and the audience.

Thanks for stopping by.

-S

Southern Ontario Ducks, Geese, and Seagulls

Here is a video clip shot shortly before the snowfall in S.O., (Southern Ontario).

As you can see from this short clip, a variety of birds including Canadian Geese (we just call them Geese in Canada), Seagulls, and ducks are chilling at the mouth of a small creek that is fed by/ flows into Lake Ontario on the shoreline.

Towards the end of the clip there is a mild kerfuffle between the Geese, but as many Canadians know: they can be very territorial in general and command authority among other birds due to their size. Although I am sure you would have to ask the birds to check the validity of that statement.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

-S

Creating an apron with vintage material

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Vintage fabric imported from Japan- Over the shoulder apron

The Japanese version of Batik dye is seen here in with this vintage fabric imported for LillyBoChic. It is unique, colorful, and breathes life into a medium I have made the foundation of my design line: the apron. One may ask: how many different ways can you make an apron?

I may answer: as many ways as you can wear one. (Probably a very high number)

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Over the shoulder apron

 

This design is inspired by the classic over-the-shoulder style of apron. The pull-over design sits atop the shoulders of the wearer, with adjustable ties at the waist to accommodate various sizes. I included a front pocket (something I have been doing a lot of lately, out of a concern that my designs were lacking utility).

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Pocket view of vintage fabric imported from Japan

Since I am accustomed to free-hand drafting many aspects of my designs, I tailored the chest area/collar of this apron to allow for a better fit. Tailoring also achieved a bell curve on the shape of the apron bottom, creating a frill/ looseness that adds a soft femininity. I’m pleased with how this turned out as I was contemplative of what type of apron design could be qualified to accommodate such a high-drama pattern.

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Back side of Apron- Over the shoulder, ties at waist.

 

That’s all for now, and thanks for stopping by,

-S

Southern Ontario before snowfall

Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.
Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.

Before our first snowfall, I took these shots of the Lake Ontario Shoreline facing south toward the U.S. The above image has been cropped, as I wanted to removed the distraction of the wooden construction fence and slight debris that was in-frame.  I’m not sure if it takes away from the photo to have the bottom cropped in this way: it’s hard to say since I took the shot. I think that its difficult to remove yourself from the background history of something when you saw the steps of its production- kind of makes you impervious to seeing it from virgin eyes. (That is a digression).

Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.
Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.

I enjoyed this vista: the staggering of the trees across the shoreline gives a nice depth of field. I was able to capture quite a bit of video from the area: I spotted a red tailed chipmunk,  a woodpecker, and a grouse nearer to a creek in that linked to the lake. Lots of ducks and Geese got along swimmingly at the mouth of the creek, chilling and hanging out in the water and by the shore.

Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.
Southern Ontario before snowfall- South facing view of Lake Ontario from Port Credit in Mississauga late fall 2015.

The above shot is the path leading in from the road to the lake. I always enjoy shots like this: a road leading away from or towards you. As the observer, it is up to you to decide.

Streets and Architecture

I snapped this shot on a beautiful November afternoon in Hamilton.
I absolutely am an admirer of the architecture seen here at the tops of this row building. I would assume that this was one large building at some time in the past due to the consistent style of windows, and the continuous use of the same decorative brackets and cornices.

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King Street in Hamilton

There are a few locations in Hamilton where this style is experiencing a revival- either that or they are borrowing from the existing style of older buildings (like the one you see above) to create uniformity and identity.

Heritage Building in Hamilton (note the cornices)

This uniformity is something that many other places use to give specific neighbourhoods a unique look and feel. One town that comes to mind is Unionville, north of Toronto. Here are some shots of Unionville buildings:

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

-S

 

**Updates** Images of buildings in downtown Hamilton that illustrate the continuity of the architectural style described earlier. I love that you can find the classic heritage buildings with the style; as well as many new constructions.