Raising chickens (even if only the clay kind)

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Sea Glow Fused Dichroic Necklace, Mary Williams Designs

Sea Glow Necklace

Some of the items I use as photo props come to me from family members (thank you and keep ‘em coming!!) and I’m always willing to add to my ever-growing stash of “oddities and endities”. When searching for a suitable model for my new Sea Glow Necklace my eyes drifted to this wonderful chicken sitting in my kitchen. Perfect! I took probably 20 shots until I had the shadows and glow that I was looking for. As it was, the wind blowing the trees outside the window provided a lot of different shadow effects.

The chicken was part of a gift from my son and his wife and of course the first thing I thought was “How cute!” and the second immediate thought was “NEW PHOTO PROP!”. I love the glowing teal of the glass against the chocolaty color of the hen.

Bring in the clowns!

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Teal Tiger Lampwork Bead Pair by Mary Williams Designs

Teal Tiger Lampwork Bead Pair by Mary Williams Designs

I never intended to keep the original image for this shot. I had been playing with different lighting angles for my borosilicate lampwork beads and since I hadn’t planned to keep them, I didn’t bother clearing my cluttered photo stand. When reviewing the shots I found this one with the sad clown standing by almost off-camera. Something about it struck a cord and I decided to keep it and share it here. You never know where interesting photo props might turn up!

I bought this wonderful polymer clay clown in a Carmel gallery back in the 80′s. I loved the artist’s work but could only justify the expense of one of them to myself. Now, as a treasured part of my collection I wish I had bought more. I hope that the artist continued working in polymer and (hopefully) I can find more of her work to purchase one day. I recall at the time that she specialized in clowns.

Awesome photo prop and Free Jewelry Tutorial

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Firewood photo prop Mary Williams Designs

Firewood Photo Prop

I have a slight obsession to collecting pieces of art in nature. Just ask anyone that has gone on a hike with me, or even just walked with me on the pine-studded area surrounding our house.The chance of me returning to the house without some small (or more typical) large piece of wood or rock that I find interesting is unlikely.

The wood in the picture is actually a piece of firewood that I rescued just moments before it was to be tossed into the flames of our wood stove. If it had burned I would have mourned it for awhile, I found it so interesting. The family has now been instructed to hold similar pieces of firewood for my inspection before using it to heat the house.(edited to add: Reminder to self after finding nearly a dozen pieces of firewood stacked on my worktable this morning: “be  more specific as to size when requesting firewood photo props”.)

I love the naturally occurring random pattern on it! The fact that it has a stub of a small branch ideally located at the top, perfectly off-center for interest, was a superb bonus! It will work wonderfully for bracelets, pendants, or, as in the photograph, a coiled spiral beaded necklace.

As an added bonus to you, I added a tutorial to the website for the seed bead chain shown in the photo (I know, you barely noticed it because of the awesomeness of the wood it is hanging on!)

Spin Out Spiral Seed Bead Chain FREE tutorial!

Using photo props to demonstrate scale

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Vintage Cribbage Board

I have a lot to learn about photography. I will probably always have a lot to learn about photography. I wish I had more time to devote to learning because the more I ‘play around’ the more I see how much a science small product photography is, especially when it is small reflective items! I know, as with any art, the more time devoted to practice the more your skills expand.

When I can, I experiment with photo prop colors to see how they change the lighting requirements for a given shot. I also experiment with different photo prop subjects to demonstrate scale in a pleasing way. Preferring not to slap a ruler or a quarter into the shot if I don’t have to, I try to find items that are interesting, demonstrate the size of the piece that is for sale, and have colors that bring out the most pleasing appearance of the subject, in my opinion. I think this vintage cribbage board will find its way into a few future product photos, but for now I need to sneak it back into Billy’s office!

There are so many reasons to love Autumn……..

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Autumn Leaf

What's Not To Love About Autumn

…….and the amazing colors are just one. Jax found this leaf while on a walk with Billy. It was by itself in the middle of the road just waiting. Luckily Jax only had a chance to nose it around a bit before Billy snatched it from him, thus saving it from being loved to destruction. I don’t know how well it will keep its colors once dry, but if it retains at least a little of this amazing color display expect to see it as a future photo prop.


Product Photography…

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I was doing so well making headway with the store’s product photography and then I got ….distracted.

It is no secret to those who check out the Boutique’s new items that I like using photo props, and I am using them more and more. If I had more time I would probably lose myself in practicing photography more often. Hunting for them is also a great excuse for reviving my love of visiting garage and estate sales. I love old things. Rusty, dented, sometimes even dirty old pieces of household history (and don’t get me started on interesting rocks!). They all just have so much character. They also keep me from becoming weary of photographing item after item on a stark white background.

Antique Lock with White Flower

Don’t get me wrong, I think some things need a simple white background in order to capture and convey certain qualities, but even with a white background I find myself leaning more and more to the shadowy dark side.

Amber Treads Lampwork

Amber Treads Lampwork

Oh, yes. That delicate white flower up there? Believe it or not, it is a trailing weed that will run rampant, choking the life out of more delicate plants in my yard if I don’t keep it in check. I decided it was about time it did something positive for me, and when I took the time to look at it more closely I realized how truly beautiful it was.