It’s February… so usually, any hope of finding some peonies at the flower market are slim and none… but this week I got lucky and they had a beautiful soft pink variety available and blooming. I was talking with one of the flower guys last year and he said that the reason they aren’t available year-round is that no one had perfected the hot-house technique for growing them. Seems they need the ants around to bloom out properly and they are a bit finicky! But for whatever reason when I was there this week – luck was on my side and I was able to grab a few – which were rather expensive even at wholesale prices – $6 a stem – and only sold in stems of 5. I think I got enough good photos of my set up to make the $30 investment worth it.

One of the reasons I love to use textures in my photos is because of the extra depth and interest it adds to a beautiful photograph. The better your photo is, to begin with – the easier it is to process and work with textures later. I make sure when I am shooting – I am shooting with intention. I want the correct exposure, lighting, background, colors, blur, composition, etc… I get creative with my lenses. I work the scene for a few hours and often go back over and over again to the same subject so I can get past the initial photos into the more creative photos. I want to stay with a scene long enough to get into the mindset where I start to think outside the box and I look all around the scene trying to get something different. Taking a bad photo and adding a texture to it doesn’t fix it. It is just a bad photo with a texture. You want to always be working on your photography skills. This is the main reason I started this series of blog posts – to help you see where I started, and how I got to the finished photos.

For this set up I have a wood surface I’m set up on by my favorite window to photograph at. I have my old crate on the table that I am using as a backdrop – this creates prettier deeper shadows than just having a flat black board back there.

I have the light coming in from the window softly from the left side and all off the lights in the room off so I only have the natural light on my setup.

For these photos I was using my Lensbaby Velvet 85 lens – I absolutely love that lens. I use it set on about f4 – so it doesn’t have that glowy feel the lower f-stop creates but still looks very velvety in the finished photos.  Canon EOS 5D Mark III | ISO1250 |1/800s | f4

*The finished photos were processed with the Euphoria Presets and a couple textures I have listed below.

This is a pullback of my set up – I am working on a small table by the window in my dining room. I have a beat-up wood surface for the base and my old crate in the background. I love using the crate back there rather than just a black board because it seems to have more dimension and adds some extra interest since it isn’t just a flat surface. You’ll also notice in this scene that I am using my black card to manipulate the light coming in the window. I love doing this to really direct the light exactly where I want it to go. I love moving that board and my white reflector board all over my scenes to see how moving the light changes up the photos.

This is one of my favorite shots from this setup. I am using the Euphoria Presets a texture from the Retro Surprise collection.

Another view of this beautiful set-up. Check out the really beautiful German book I have in this set too – it is one of my favorite still life props! I changed up the texture on this to one from the Delectable texture collection (available exclusively in the Food Workshop) and I’m still using that beautiful Preset from the Euphoria Presets. 

A before / after of this shot using the Euphoria Presets a texture from the Retro Surprise collection.


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