Monday, June 24, 2013

Unwrapped {Photography with Nikon D3100 and Styling}

I am very sorry because this post is long over due. The reason was that I must planned on my head how am I going to present it so it still looks 'pretty' rather than just a tutorial post.

In the past I had readers who asked how and what camera I shot my vignettes for my blog post. To be honest I am not a professional photographer. And I learn as I go. But there are few important elements in order to make beautiful photography.

So I am going to break down this photography tutorial post in to 6 categories.

1. The camera. What camera you use is what  shown on your blog post. Mine is Nikon D3100 {here}. Nikon just introduce the better version of D3100 and is D3200 {here}. This camera is very good for blog & photography but since my blog is about object more than people I want to have a strong depth of field. For this I bought an extra lens called AF Nikor 50 mm f/1.8D {here}. Mostly I shoot with this lens for my blog post since it creates the depth of field that I want.

2. Lighting. A good natural light is very important for photography. Since I always shoot inside the house I choose my object near a big window or door where natural light is mostly coming in. Also it is better to shoot when the sun light is getting softer or when the sun is about to go down on the horizon {they called this 'the golden hour'}. Usually it is around 4 to 6 pm in the afternoon. The reason is that at noon the sun light is very harsh that will make picture harsh also. I want a soft clear picture. And the soft natural light is very good for shooting photography. It is also apply to photography people out door. That is why professional photographer has giant umbrella to block the sun light. If I must shoot during a cloudy day or at night; I am using artificial light. I bought these spot light and day light bulb at Home Depot. Last seen, here.

As you can see I placed my object near where the sun light comes in most.

 I am so embarrassed to show the spot I shoot my pictures. But this is the best place to shoot so I must stay on this spot right now.

3. Props. Props are as  important also. To create good picture; let's say for a recipe post you need props to support your recipe picture that you are presenting. Props can be expensive but it does not have to be. I love flea market and yard sale. So it is good to keep an eye for props for photography shoots. For example, a vintage spoon, vintage napkins, vintage plates, vintage baking pan, bottles,etc. A good source also from Jo Ann fabrics. They sell a small piece of quilting fabrics that you can use for props. 

4. Back drops. I created my own back drops. My home is small that does not have open space or table to shoot from. And the shape of the house is long where there are big sliding doors at one end and the entrance on the other end. so I chose a spot using back drops near by the big sliding door. And that is where I shoot most of the time. For this I bought ply wood from Home Depot. They are already cut to size that I need. It is about USD 4.00 per piece. I distressed paint the ply wood my self. The good thing is that I can create many color of back drops I want. But I also bought an old wood from a barn some where in Vermont to create a rustic back drops.

I distressed the white and blue boards myself. The old plank wood bought at an antique store in Vermont. It is from an old barn. I used these boards for most of my pictures. I am sure you have seen these back drops on my blog posts in the past.

5. Composition. When you are shooting with the Nikor 50 mm lens; you will be having fun! I shoot about 100 pictures for one object. I shoot on all angles; at eye level, left, right, close ups, from above, I guarantee you will get beautiful pictures out of those many angles shots that you shoot. 

I love creating picture on 45 deg. angle. Just tilted the camera slightly.

This composition is straight up but by cropping the background object makes it more interesting to look at. The main object is the little naked boy.

The star of the show is still the naked little boy only now he was placed behind the bottle. The lens still can make it sharp thus the foreground object {the bottle} became blurred. This is what the Nikor lens does. Both of these images has been editing on Picmonkey.

6. Additional tips. Photo Editing Software {Picmonkey here and Picasa, here}
Although you successfully shot beautiful pictures; one last stop to spruce up you photo is on photo editing software. I am using Picmonkey for all of my photo editing software. It is free and very easy to navigate. I also using Photoshop Elements to create graphic images when I need it. There is nothing wrong to post pictures straight from camera after down loaded them. But using photo editing soft ware like Picmonkey makes a big difference. You can see the big difference under category no. 1. 

Related reading; Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin {here}


Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to;
Savvy Southern Style 
Clean & Scentsible 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


  1. GReat tips. I need to learn more about my camera. YOur photos are super. I would love for you to link to my 170th Inspire Me Tuesday party that is ongoing. Hugs, Marty

  2. such great tips! I just bought a 3100 since it was such a great deal, and now I need to learn it. love the idea of the backdrops, too.

  3. Ellya I always love your pictures :) Great tutorial, thanks for linking up to Creative Mondays..

  4. Thank you for all the tips. I've been wanting this camera and may indulge myself soon.

  5. I use picmonkey too for my editing. My daughter has a Nikkon camera. She took the pictures for my Time For Tea post. They turn out so realistic and clear mostly when we take pictures on the outside. Otherwise I use a little camera a hand me down where I can just click and shoot but not so clear. Take care, Darlene

  6. I liked seeing your backgrounds and that you don't have to have a big studio to get great photos. Thanks for sharing that with us even though you sounded hesitant!

  7. This is exactly how I do it! Great tips. This always produces great images. Good info! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  8. Great tips! I need to work on more interesting backdrops and props. I love how my plate of cookies turned out in this post. I shot it out on my apartments balcony, which is in dire need of painting, but it looks really cool as a background! Thanks for sharing with us!

    Bethany the ngnrdgrl

  9. Thanks for the helpful tips! It's so interesting to see the whole setup and different angles, to see the work that goes into the final picture.


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