I am on Instagram

Finally decided it was time to join in the fun over in Instagram – Find Me Here

Please share your Instagram handle if you have one and also any other recommendations for people I might be interested in following would be greatly appreciated!

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Distressed Chair

One of the things I love about the work of Kim Klassen is the elegant way she works with what I guess is referred to as “shabby chic” – where furniture is worn and used and rough around the edges but still provides an understated background for her work.

Its an aesthetic that is new to me, and slowly I am collecting props in my personal style that fit into that concept.  The one thing I really wanted though, was a chair.

Except the native wood in NZ tends to have a distinct orange/yellow cast when finished, which I personally do not find attractive.  Plus they are quite expensive as they tend to be hardwood, and good wooden furniture, whatever the age, is sought after, and priced accordingly.

Still I kept my eyes open, and noticed a fancy place that embraces the  Nordic styling, but they had a broken chair on special.  I thought the price was too expensive, given it was broken, but went back a few weeks later to see if it was still there, and was prepared to haggle the price.

Lo and behold, a black chair in the same style, broken in a better place (high up on the back support) and was the price I was prepared to pay, so it came home with me.

Pinterest was my friend with finding techniques for distressing furniture.  What I ended up doing was sanding down to bare wood in the places I wanted it (edges and where natural wear would be) and then sanding back as much as the black as I could.

This was A LOT OF SANDING – and it was all done by hand.  I probably went through 6-8 sheets of sandpaper.  Its had roughly 3 coats of paint applied, and sanded back after each one..

I tried the vaseline technique and found it a waste of time, so just stuck with doing it the hard way with elbow grease and sandpaper 🙂  I wanted some black in there for interest and texture but overpainted with the white.

Because it ended up quite distressed, its a pretty rough job for my first go, but I’m not too bothered about it, the idea was that it looked used and worn around the edges.  Certainly a good learning experience.  Not sure that I will involve myself in another one, but I have my chair, which is supposed to be oak, but I think there is some pine in there – all told I spent around $50 plus many hours of sanding and mucking around to get it sorted.

This is the first photo featuring my special chair!  Have you upcycled some furniture?  Got some tips to share?

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More Dark Light Food Photography

Cherries from my tree and they are completely delicious and I was so please to finally sort out this technique so I could properly do them justice!

Huge juicy blackberries, I couldn’t resist buying some to bring home and shoot them – as they are so dark it was a bit challenging, but as they are quite shiny, they reflected enough light to give them dimension which was important.

Check out my new dishes by the way as well!

Blueberries are something I avoid eating, not a fan at all, but these look AMAZING in photos and were on special, so decided to grab some and I really like this photo – and the antique pie dish looks pretty awesome too 🙂

I froze my blackberries to keep them in good condition, and when they hit the warm air, this lovely frost condenses on the outside for a very different look.

Note for the person who keeps linking to my posts but taking credit for my work on their page (and deletes my comments pointing out its MY photography) – I have issued a DMCA notice with WordPress.

Posted in Camera Adventures, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

When the Dance is Done

For a long time I have wanted a pair of pointe shoes to use as a prop, but not shiny new ones, instead shoes that have been used and used hard.

Luckily it turns out I know people who know people, and I took possession of this pair a couple of days ago.  Today I was inspired to sit down and spend some time shooting and editing.

As soon as I saw this image with all the fabric detail I *knew* this had to be a Black and White image.


  1. Shot with my 100mm macro lens for wonderful detail
  2. Processed in LR and then with Nik Silver Efex
  3. Over to PS to have a black film emulsion texture added
  4. Added the text layers and grunged them up a bit to blend in

This needs to be seen BIG to fully appreciate all the lovely fabric and editing details.  So many ideas for using these shoes – who else has Pointe Shoes – what do you do with them?



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Blueberries and my Shooting Setup

Found these in the supermarket today.  I am not a fan of blueberries so would never normally buy them, but they look so amazing in food photos, and real blue food is such a rarity and I thought they would look nice in my antique silver spoons – these are the GIANT sized ones that are much bigger than a tablespoon with really deep bowls.  Ideal for piling berries into 🙂

I thought I would show you what my setup looks like – this is laid out on my lounge floor where I have a ranch slider to my right and in front of me is a wide window that I have pulled the curtains closed – that very thing makes a huge difference to the way the light falls on the image.

So above you can see the big bit of foam core at the top of the frame and a smaller bit to the left.  The base is art cardboard (the other side is painted) and the two A4 folded black cards that I use to shape the light.  And the tripod balanced over the top – this is tied back as when I put my camera on portrait orientation, its so top heavy, it falls over!


setup1View from where the camera would sit.  The black thing in the middle is a lovely piece of slate that is matte and adds subtle texture to the background.

So there you go, I have revealed all my secrets for you now 🙂  Go forth and shoot!

Posted in Camera Adventures, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Dark Moody Food Photography

So my Pinterest Still Life board is full of all these wonderful darkly lit images of food, with rich colours, subtle lighting and deep shadows, giving a very different feel to the light, bright and airy images you usually see associated with food.

The “dark light” look (as I call it) really appeals to me and over the past few months I have tried to replicate it, and…..failed quite noticeably.  It was very frustrating!

Today a lady on Awake posted an image similar to the above but with blueberries, and when I asked her how she did it, she kindly summarised her process which was very similar to mine but with ONE CRITICAL STEP EXTRA!!

So goddamn simple I want to cry!

What is it, I hear you breathlessly ask?

Lower your exposure in camera when you shoot it!!!

OMG I truly cannot believe it never occured to me, except I am so well trained as a photographer to get a correct exposure, that playing with this simply just was not something I even considered.

Here is my second experiment, with black and red currants picked from the plants in my garden 🙂

Steps to Create These Images:

  1.  First I decided to get organised and actually do a flat lay setup (when you lay it down flat and shoot directly overhead)
  2.  In my lounge – put down black art paper for the background, black foamcore at the top of the image and to the left, closed the curtains on the window at the top of the image
  3.  Setup camera in overhead position
  4.  Pick fruit and arrange on plate
  5.  Put plate under camera, adjust tripod legs to suit
  6.  I have two A4  black cards folded in a shallow V shape (so they stand up on their own) – these are used to block the light coming in from the window and shape it to best advantage
  7.  Arrange light to suit while viewing in live view
  8.  Edit in Lightroom
  9.  Add a Kim Klassen preset

For the red currants (and any translucent fruit) I tweak the luminance up a tad and it makes them glow internally in a pretty way.

Below is a slideshow with the before image being the basic edit done in Lightroom, and then the After shows the difference with a further process with Kim Klassen OLight preset and a bit of tidying up (removal of spots etc) in PS

This is a very dark moody lighting style, but is due to the difference from the usual style of photography that it appeals to me.  I am still learning how to stage food images (it is an art in its own right) but having fun while trying not to buy ALL the props 🙂

Even if the style isn’t to your personal taste, do you appreciate these images? Do they tell you a story? Or make you want to reach out and taste the fruit?

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Posted in Camera Adventures, For Beginners, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Further Edit to Teddy and The Girl Image

Above is the updated image, below is the previous final version.

I wasn’t 100% happy with the brighter corner – because I had the very bright patches on the dress, I needed some matching light source to account for that.  Some useful feedback gave me reason to revisit this image so this is the new and improved version.

Steps taken:

Made some colour tonal adjustments and taken out a lot of the masks that brightened the top corner and evened out the overall lighting

A very subtle full moon has been added to the top right corner, blended into the clouds

A light texture was added.

Overall I am much happier about this version, it feels much more cohesive and natural – does it work better for you?

Posted in Camera Adventures, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments