Still Life Photography: Paper Birds And Vintage Books Setup Inspired By The Starless Sea | DENISE LOVE | Skillshare

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Still Life Photography: Paper Birds And Vintage Books Setup Inspired By The Starless Sea

teacher avatar DENISE LOVE, Artist & Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (49m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class project

    • 3. Inspiration By The Starless Sea Book

    • 4. Props I'm Using

    • 5. Styling Our Setup

    • 6. My Lighting Setup

    • 7. Shoot Recap & Editing in Lightroom

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

I love whimsy... and anytime I can add a bit of whimsy to my photos - I do. I like the unexpected. Doing some photos that are a bit out of the ordinary with a good story behind them. In today's setup, I have a bit of all of that. I'm taking my inspiration from one of my favorite books. Creating a little scene inspired by a passage. Being a bit fun, and whimsical with the setup.

In this class we'll cover:

  • I'll show you some of the props I have collected and gathered together
  • Styling your set up near a window for natural light and how I supplement that on a cloudy day.
  • I'll talk about my go-to signature props for background elements... and making a few paper birds out of vintage books.
  • We'll also look at my final photos from this setup and do some editing in Lightroom.

This course is perfect for beginners getting started and needing ideas. It's also great for experienced photographers wanting ideas and tips for doing studio setups.

Required Gear: A camera. You can do still life photography with any camera you have and a few props to tell your story.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image


Artist & Photographer



Hello, my friend!

 I'm Denise, an artist, and photographer. I'm really passionate about sharing what I have learned with others and creating workshops is what I really enjoy. I've primarily focused on Photography Workshops up to this point. After having a thriving studio photography business since 2012, and being involved in different arts my whole life, I have started to delve into other creative workshops to keep things fresh and exciting for myself. I enjoy the journey of creating as much as what I end up with when I'm done. I can't wait to share with you and see what you are creating! 

I have an Instagram just for my art feed if you want to connect over there. I'd love to see you! I also have my main Instagram account for all things ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I love things that are slightly whimsical and using some of those elements in my photography and my still life. And in today's setup, I think we've got a really fun set using paper birds. I'm Denise love and honesty lie photographer out of Atlanta, Georgia. And today I'm going to illustrate a passage out of one of my favorite books. It's very descriptive, so it gives me a really nice idea picture in my mind of what I want to put together. And I think you're going to love seeing this technique because it's going to expand your horizons past just the random stories that you think up for yourself, where you're trying to pull together random prompts. Now we have a very specific story that we're looking at and we're like, haha, here's what I want to use to create the story. And to me it's almost easier illustrating a passage or illustrating the feel of a book with the story that comes behind that and the rich stories that we can tell. Then it is coming up with my own random story and pulling props together to tell that story has more meaning behind it. People really start to identify with it. You've got really good conversational points when you have something that's got a much deeper story behind it, rather than something random that you've pulled together so that you can take a picture for that day. So today I'm going to show you what I'm going to be putting together based on a passage in a book that I love. I'm going to talk about the editing will look at my lighting. And when we're all done, I hope you're inspired to create a setup like this for yourself and to push a little further in your still life photography. So let's get started. 2. Class project: Your class project is to come up with at least one photo of your setup that you come up with after watching this class and come back and share that with the class, I'm really excited to have you in this. I can't wait to see what it said or you come up with. So come back and share one photo with the class and I'm looking forward to see you. 3. Inspiration By The Starless Sea Book: So today I'm going to illustrate a passage out of a book and create a small little still I've set up out of that and you'll see me do this probably over and over and over again. Or I pick a book as an inspiration. Because early on in my photography and for many years, really up until I last year, I just kinda made up stories in my mind and thought, Okay, I'm gonna do a heritage story. And I would pull together elements that kind of represented heritage to me and maybe a vintage photo. And I pull all that together and then I would tell my story kinda randomly, just something I dreamed up. And before that I was pulling together like so many people do random props and things and just kinda really wondered why my story wasn't working or wasn't even telling a story. And that's what most people who think about still-life or do still-life do, they'll pull together a random objects and then they'll think, why is this not working? This is so hard. I hate still life photography. And, you know, early on I thought it was hard to because you're kind of pulling together random things out of your house. When I was doing a 365 day photo project, a lot of that was still life kind of stuff. Even though in my mind, I wasn't really relating it to still life photography because at that point I was kinda directionless. But every day you had to take a photo. So I'd wonder around my house thinking, crap, what am I going to take a photo of today? And I pull a random thing off a shelf and take a photo and be like, well, I took a photo today. Now when we tell you that's kinda frustrating if you're doing a directional as project. But it really did help me kind of start to figure out things that I love to do. Like I know now I don't like to shoot weddings. I'm not really into shooting people. I'd like to shoot flowers because they are pretty and they stand still. And now more than anything, my passion for studio photography and still life photography has grown significantly enough where now I'm thinking of active, creative, wonderful sets. Would a story or even a passage that I'm illustrating like I'm doing today. And when I got to the point that I was last year, I was like reading a book and I was reading this is the star. Let's see about Aaron Morgenstern That was reading the night circus by the same author. And I could visually see in my mind the scenes that she was describing. Because in this book, you know, the, the scenery is part of the story. In some books, like I also did, Treasure Island and Pride and Prejudice. And those books are completely different. The character dialogue is what pushes that story forward. There's very little description of the scenes that we're in. And you kinda have to imagine on your own a pyroxene on a ship going towards the island, looking for the treasure because there's no descriptions in the book. So you pull from your knowledge of pirates and your knowledge of the movies that you've seen, and you know your knowledge of your experiences, and you're just trying to pull that story together any way that you can. And that's fine. I took a whole series of photos inspired by Treasure Island and a whole series of photos inspired by Pride and Prejudice, which is another book that you get no descriptions of, but we have so much information about the time period that we can just make up the scenes in our mind that we think we're reading about. This type of book or the descriptions and the passages immediately pulled together some image in your mind. Those are kind of exciting to me now and they're kind of rare and far in between. And I really wish this author would write another book because the things that she imagined are not things that I would have thought of. And they have given me such inspiration for still-life sets that I'm going to probably use this book over and over and over again. This book's got over 500 pages in it. And all through the book as I was reading, I was underlining passages and making notes in my notebook as far as like a set that I might do in a page that I could reference. Because now when I illustrate a passage that I loved in this book, because there's so many wonderful themes that run through it. There's keys and books, and birds and cats and bees, and you name it. There's just so many wonderful things that kinda speak to me. I love collecting vintage books, I love collecting old keys. I love a lot of the themes that are wrapped up in the passages. And she puts them in such a way that I immediately started thinking of a yummy stuff that I could photograph. So today I'm gonna be inspired by page 45. And this book is about little stories within the larger story. So this is sweet stories and it says there are three paths and this is one of them. And this is talking about three paths that you can take to be part of the library, part of the underground library that this book is talking about. And it says papers fragile even with bound with string and cloth or leather. The majority of the stories within the harbor on the starlings see your captured on paper, in books or on scrolls are folded into paper birds and suspended from the ceilings. These stories are the most fragile still. For every tail carved and rock, there are more inscribed on Autumn Leaves are woven into spider webs. These are stories wrapped in silk so their pages do not fall to dust and stories that have already discouraged to fragments collected and kept in arms. They are fragile things. So this passage, one sentence really grabbed me. So I don't know what sentence grabbed you when I read that. But the sentence that really grabbed me was in books or own scrolls are folded into paper birds and suspended from the ceilings. Now if that didn't give it away, that I had a little paper birds sitting here. And I don't know what would it gave that away. But that right there immediately I thought, wow, folded paper origami birds out of old book pages would be a yummy still life photo. Now I have a passage that I can post with it. And then when people see that picture, we have something talk about, there's a story behind it. I put some effort into my little props. I've got my little library back here that we'll look at in my setup in a bit. And you'll see that I'm just inspired by all the elements of that passage for the perfect to10 still life photo today. And so that's what I'm gonna do. So what I did was I took Google and googled how to make a paper origami bird. A very simple folding pattern in this one. And from that little Google tutorial on organic birds, I just folded a whole bunch of these to set up today For today's photos. So I'm going to be inspired by this book over and over. And you'll see it again in some more of these yummy little classes that I'm making. But they're the perfect subject matter for me. I can visualize a still life with a lot of the props that I already have. And I've really loved that because now I'm not always searching out the anti store and trying to buy something new for every photo. I can go into my little prop closet and pull out some fun things that this inspired. And I love that about it because it keeps me shooting more than if I'm out looking all the time. So I hope you enjoy this setup today. And where I got my inspiration from, this is inspired by the star legacy from air and Morgenstern. And if you pick up this book, pick up a copy that you're willing to write in because I want you to be able to remember passages, have a little notebook, maybe the sod you, if you don't want to write in the book, have no beginning like and take notes about things that inspired you and reference the page number. Because now I can come back over and over, revisit this set and think, oh yes, this one inspired birds. Oh yes, this one inspired, you know, whatever else it, things inspire. So the other thing that I really liked in here that I haven't done is fragments collected and kept in urns. So you can have jars are earned or some type of containers and you can fill it with torn book pages. That would be a good photo to. Another good photo might be if you had some big leaves and maybe you took, I don't know, like a like a like a little pin, like a stick pin. And you just started randomly scribbling some scribble on it like it was a story. And then those could be your photo summing. There's so many little descriptive areas like you can just type one part of that passage and make a whole photo out of it. And I love that inspiration. Now we're not just randomly thinking of things out of the blue, thinking what can I photograph today and trying to come up with something new and unique and pulling that story together successfully. Now I have a story and I just need to put it together successfully. And it almost takes one element of hardness away from doing a still life photo if you find it more difficult to pull together interesting photos that you love. So I hope you love today, sit and I'll see you in class. 4. Props I'm Using: Right, So let's talk about the prompts that I've got out today. You've seen some of these before and these are some of my staple prompts that I love to use over and over. And I want you to start collecting some of your own staple crops that you love to use over and over. And my, my signature props are some vintage books. This architectural piece, this is a core bullets old coral. I have a couple of them now because I love old architectural pieces. Books, I like to try to spend $10 or less a couple dollars, one or $2. If it's an extra fabulous book like this one, maybe I'll spend a little more on it. Or if it's like this book here that so decorative and beautiful. And this book really is my very favorite and I've used it over and over. If I find a book that's so crazy, amazing, but I know I'll use it in every photography said I ever do from here talking nucleosome. Then I'll spend a little more on it. If it's a book that I'm going to use and basically never use again. Then I'll just go to the thrift store and hope I found a couple that I like. This one with the letter edges is particularly interesting. And I like doing photos, a book stacks to like I'll stack these up and just take that photo. Basically like this. And so I'm always looking for books that stack very interestingly and are completely different so that they make a really interesting stack to look at when i just photograph on the stack of books itself. So I've got one of those photos that is my very favorite now. That would be beautiful, printed, framed and hung in an area that might be like your own library or just really hanging anywhere because it's such a beautiful photo. So I like interesting old books, these or I really love. I don't like the bright green and bright red, but, you know, I've got them and so I use them, but that's not necessarily my favorite. I really like it when the spines are torn up. When you've got super interesting torn up spawn like the big one that was so pretty. And that's an interesting book too from the front. And these have twine on him because the books are falling apart and rather than glue on them and do other things, I just tied twine on it and the Twine adds to the interests. I love that too. I'm excited. Glue back on these like this one. The spine is falling off and I should probably use glue that back on, but the ribbon I had is so pretty that I don't mind the ribbon on it. My favorite prop to collect, write their books, they go and everything. And they can represent anything in your photo. It can represent a library, it can represent your desk, it can represent cookbooks if you're doing food setups. I mean, books are so versatile. And who cares what that book really was? Nobody will ever know, but you. So collect interesting old books, go the thrift store, go the antique store. And I would spend basically next to nothing on the photo on the on the books unless you love it so much and you know, it's going to be your most favorite book. Like these two are my most favorite of mine. Something that interesting again, and that's 30 or 40 or $50 at this point on my pony up for the book. Because I've done so much photography over the years. And I have narrowed down the things that I specifically really love, that it's worth it to me to spend extra on a prop that I know is going to be my signature props basically. And the core bull's eye, just like architectural pieces. I went to school many, many, many years ago for interior design. And so I'm always fascinated with houses, old houses, housing elements, anything that kinda goes along with that. And I'm super fascinated with old moldings and things that make a house interesting and gives it character. And so in my photos I want that same feel, all of that architectural piece. It's very interesting with a lot of character. And to me, a corbelled does bat. And it's appropriate on a bookcase because it can be a bookend to appropriate as kinda implying some architecture and some feeling and giving some context to the style and the time period and things like that. Corals are expensive though. Now that I've said all that. And I did not collect corbels early on. I was shooting still life for quite a long time before I'm like, Yes, this one's worth it to me. And I think I paid $75 for this one. And the other one that I have like a paid another $75 for, but really you just need one the other one. It's hiding somewhere where I've put it away. I think it's in the guest room as a decoration. And I can pull it back out and bring it back into the studio. But I know having one in the studio is perfect for me. So one of those would be a great investment. And then I've got low crate that I'm using as an implied bookshelf because in this story that we're going to be shooting, we're in a big underground library. And then I have taken some of my thrift store books for props today and torn a few pages out of them. And if you, if if it bothers you to tear up a book and buy a book at the thrift store. It didn't cost you any money and is already basically torn up. Because some of these books, like if you look at this green one, there's a lot of pages already torn up in this book, so it doesn't bother me a bit to take one of these pages and use it for something. So buy a book that's already torn up. If you don't have it in you to tear up a book. Terror Enough a book. Because I collect a lot of MFA paid a dollar for it. And it's a topic that may or may not interest me, probably won't. It doesn't really bother me to tear some pages out of an already torn up books. So I'm good with terror and up a book if it's already tore up, pretty good. But if it bothers, you, buy one that's got pages torn already in it and use those torn pages and then you don't have to feel like Utah or the book up. And then I just Googled on how to make an easy origami paper burden came up with a very easy folded pattern that just took one square sheet of paper. And then and I would give you this exact pattern, but I don't remember what it is and I'm sure I could Google it and find it again, but it's a very easy pattern. But I'd almost rather you Google your own origami bird pattern and come up with a different bird. Look. Then I've created here because then the photo becomes yours. It's not something you've just replicated. It's something that you've taken ownership of. And you've created a little bit different setup. Then I've created because you've searched out your own pattern for an origami bird and created your own little crane or whatever learned is that you're creating. So hope you have fun with today's set up. We'll take a look at styling in the next video. So I'll see you in class. 5. Styling Our Setup: So let's take a look at styling this setup. I've got a couple architectural pieces and I didn't show this one just a moment ago, but we've seen in some other setup, setup, setup done. But I'm just going to create some different spots in my little still lie to photograph. And I happen to think in another setup that I did, tilted the crate towards the light. And in that photo we really saw the brown of the crate. And if that bothers you and you want that back part kinda disappeared. Just be darkness and depth in there, which is why you like to shoot in a crate. I like to control that light and create depth in my setup and in my darkness. Then don't face towards the light because that'll highlight the back. You wanna kinda face a little bit more away from the light. So you still have light coming in, but it's not directly on the background. And then if you're using a crate and the brown still bothers you, you can paint the inside of the crate like a dark gray or a dark brown or dark charcoal, you know, something like that. I just love my crate and I use it for so much stuff. And I'm going to take just some little stick pins. And I'm going to stick pin these up so that they're hanging from our crate. So I'm just going to stick the pin through this thread and just tying those from our crate. Because in the passage it talked about, you know, birds hanging from the ceiling. So I'm going to imply that that's our ceiling. And just stick a few of these up here to be hanging. And then at different heights, I don't want them all exactly the same. And then I am also It's got three of these with some little wax string a strong on it. There's also like a little nail there I could use. And then I'm also maybe going to have some birds filling in here sitting on the books. And I'm also going to have a bird or to kinda sitting down here on the table or maybe on this architectural piece and take photos of my styled setup now. So this is a very simple setup. When you think about it, I'm using a signature prompt that I most of the time have sitting on my table, my crate with some books and that architectural element. And sometimes I just leave it set up exactly like that from shoot to shoot because it's in the background or I'm taking different elements of it. So you might see like this much of it or this part of it, but you're not seeing the whole thing every time. So while the photos that I take look like they might be in one big long series. It's not like every single photo is exactly the same because I'm not focused on the background, I'm focused on the props and the elements in the foreground. And that's just my random in the Blur kind of background element that I love to see back there. It's interesting, you're looking at it thinking, ooh, was back there. I love the shape and the color and the implied element that it gives. So I do like sometimes having a similar setup but using different prompts to tell different stories. You don't have to reinvent the, don't have to reinvent the wheel every single time you do a setup. If you go with something like this basic bookcase looking thing in a crate with pretty old books and architectural element if you want, it could just be all books. It's up to you. You can create a 1000 stories in front of that and just have a beautiful setup as the background and different elements that you're changing out for the story. And you can even look through lots of different photos that I've taken and recognize some of the different elements that I'll use over and over. Rather than buying new things every single time I do a photo and don't get me wrong. I've certainly done that when I was creating moans, stories before I had collected props that I just knew I love so much. I wanted to use them over and over. I would go up the antique store and put together a whole set that day that I thought of by all new antiques and all new things to put together. And as I did that through the years, things have emerged that I have purchased that had become a favorite and other things have ended up being a onetime use then I'm like, okay, well, I didn't love this so much that I want to keep it or use it again. So I'm going to give it away to my dad. Let me put this in his antique booth. Profits that have emerged to be my very favorite, really have turned into like my signature things. So when you're starting out by everything under the sun than interests you. But as you're going along, keep the things you love, give away prop swap, put it the antique market, whatever the things that you no longer love or want to use again. And pretty soon you'll have a collection of props in your prop closet that are like your go-to finds. I have a specific silver vessel that I love to shoot berries in. And so you'll see that one over and over. I have a specific set of antique books that I love, so I don't feel the need to go out and buy every antique book under the sun or buy new antique books for every set. I have a set that I love. There's a few books in this set that I don't love anymore, like the red and the green or this one here. So I might replace those for three or four books that I know that I will love if I go out looking now I know what I like him what to be looking for rather than just willy nilly grabbing every book. But the ones that I don't love still have their purpose. I can tear pages out of those and make birds out of it. So even though I don't love them, I still might keep those because I might not be afraid to tear that book up if I don't love it. And it's already kind of tore up and I could do fun stuff like this. So hope you have fun kinda searching out what your signature elements might be, might not be the same as mine and that's fine. That's what makes up my style, the things that I have found that I loved. And that's what's gonna make up. Your style is you're collecting props, find the ones you love. And those are going to be the elements that you pull from time after time. Alright, so let's take a look at the lighting, so I'll see you back in class. 6. My Lighting Setup: So let's talk about the lighting on our setup. Now my favorite way to lie to setup was with natural light. It's my own preference. I have tried all the studio lights under the sun. I have a set of ring lights, I have a set of box slides, I have some handheld lights, I have some tabletop lights. And I'm the kind of person apparently, it's taken me this long and my life to kind of figure this out, but I'm the kind of person that I've got to try every option out there and then go, Oh, this is the option that I love. And so after trying at all, I will say I don't like Flash. So even though I have a Flash app, never used it, I don't like it. I'm not a flash person. But that doesn't mean that you're not a flash person. Sometimes you have to try all the elements out there and say, okay, here's what works for me. And sometimes you can listen to somebody like me telling you what works for me. And you might try and think, Aha, this is working for me too. I love it. So I like to shoot in natural light. It is a choice that I have made on purpose. After mastering natural light and studio lights and all of the other elements out there. And I can honestly say this is what I prefer because I have tried at all. And when you're just getting started, I want you to try it all. I want you to try this setup sitting on a wall where the box light sitting to one side. And that box light needs to be about a foot and a half maybe from your setup. And you can adjust that depending on how much light that's putting on it. And then do the same setup and a window set up next to the window with a scrim in the window and then take that photo and then compare them on your computer and see what it is that you love or don't love. And I have done these actual experiments. I have taken photos with studio lights in other rooms, done the same setup in this window to be able to say, here's why I like it or here's why I don't like it. So to me the natural light is all infusing. It touches every element of that. Set up. The box lights and the ring lights and I use a ring light. There's a ring light in our set right now because I'm using it to white are set for filming at, but the ring light is what I will use to supplement light. But I love the natural light because all infusing, if you're using something like a ring light or a box light, It's very directional, like it's not abusing beyond the light surface itself. It's very directional coming out at things. And what I don't like about the directional light is it looks fake to me. I want to have something that's all and abusing. Its going to be the right look to the shadows and the highlights. I want to see all that is natural looking as possible. And that's why I prefer the natural light. Now on days when there is no sun, I aqui en, it's too dark, perhaps, maybe it's rainy and storming outside. That's an instance where I'll put my ring light right there in the middle of the window. I'll set it right here, turn it on and I'll supplement the light. So I do like artificial lighting to supplement the light. In this ring light I particularly love because when I went to supplement the light, it sits right in my window. It's not very thick. This one has a head on it that bins this little bendy element is my favorite parts and then it doesn't just have to say Sit, stay sitting straight up. And this one is an LED light. So what I like about the LED light is if you tip this over and it hits the floor, the light bulb doesn't break. I have also done that. That's how I can tell you that tip. Because I had a fluorescent light with a fluorescent light bulb in it and it hit the floor when I was rushing around for a project to do in something and that light bulb broken law, but not light bulbs like a 100 bucks if you can even find it. And this whole units like a $100. So at the time that the light bulb wasn't available, it was a $100 but it wasn't available and I thought, well, I'll just go ahead and get the other the LED blinks. I had an LED and a fluorescent want to ring lights. And now I have two LED lights. And it doesn't matter what kind you buy. This was not available and the other one is the only one available. It doesn't matter which one you buy. They're both putting out the same color. About 55, 5600 Kelvin. I think you're putting out a natural daylight color. So it doesn't matter what the bulb is. What I do like about this one is it's fully deductible all the way to the maximum brightness, all the way down to almost nothing. And then it turns off. The fluorescent one says it's doable, but it really wasn't. So very tiny amount of dimness. It went from light. Very bright to maybe not as very bright, but it was still very bright, whereas this one goes all the way down to practically nothing. And I love that better. So I do kinda like the LED better. I like it to have a Bindi head because I I've been the head. I'll put it right in that window next to my setup. It's not very thick, so it's perfect for supplementing my window light on days then it's darker. So I do love that. Today. It was actually really dark in here when I started filming our little class. But the sudden came out. So I guess it was just going to be super cloudy all morning. And on cloudy days, I love it because the light is being diffused by the clouds. On sunny days. The light is coming right into my window, shining right on to my set. And it just made everything really harsh. You don't want the harsh light and the shadows on your setup and less for whatever reason you're breaking the rules. And that is part of your setup. The shadows are part of the setup because I've done sets before were the shadowing and the lighting has been part of the story I was trying to tail, but it needs to be very specific as to why you want it. Otherwise it's bad, it's a bad element on your photo. And I shoot in east facing windows, so the light shines in this window until about 1130. And then about noon time it gets to the top of the building and the light is really nice and diffused. And then after one or two o'clock it's kinda tipping over the building and it's kind of on the back side and it's almost too dark to shoot on this side without using a tripod. I mean, there's plenty of light, but it's diffused and it's a lot lower light. Once it gets on the west side of the house, That's good. That's a good window for afternoon shooting. If you're on a north-south window, then those would be good all day long depending on how much light you get on that side of the house. And you'll just have to kind of test your setup to see if that those windows work for you and what time is best. So what did you do when the light is shining in your window? Then I'd use of photography scrim in my window. Or you can have some thin white curtains to be able to close. So I'll put the scrim in the window and this is the center part of a photography reflector. So when you take the little reflector cover off, this is the center of that reflector and it's really nice diffused light that it lets come in. And so I'm always using a diffuser, even when I'm out shooting in public at the flower gardens, I have some type of diffuser with me that I will be able to then use to hold on top of flowers while I'm shooting photos. So diffuser is my favorite element for making that white soft. The goal is to have soft light on your set. You don't want to have any party or set with the harsh light shining in, creating hotspots and dark shadows because it just looks terrible. So today's setup, it is bright enough not to have to supplement the lights. And I've got the diffuser in the window and I've got my set pulled right up and I'm going to experiment shooting the birds all along my setup and just see what I can get. And I cannot wait to see what kind of bird you fold with your paper and what setup you come up with because it might inspire something new for me. I'm looking forward to see in your version. So I'll see you back in class. 7. Shoot Recap & Editing in Lightroom: Let's take a look at some of the photos that I took and then we'll edit something here in Lightroom. So I started off taking some photos of the flying birds. And I took several of these and you have to kind of decide what is it that you want to see, how much of that bird you want to see? Because on some of these, I took this photo where I could see the bird flying. There was a really pretty stream of light kinda coming in on a really liked that. But on a couple of these, the bird is a little bit different. Maybe I'm seeing in focus this edge of a wing instead of the whole bird. Or maybe it's tilted a little different and I'm seeing the underside of the burn instead of the oversight of the bird like a saw on this one here. So I'm going to take it from all different angles. Take a little bit above, take a little bit from below, take some from straight on. Take some kind of angled from the left or angled from the right and see like which area of those birds did you really like when you got to your computer, what was the composition that ended up being the strongest to you in your mind? Because I'm yeah, I was kind of all over the place focusing on different birds like on this one I focused on the bird sitting on the books, whereas on this one I focused on a bird that was in the air and the one on the books is in boar. So also when you're shooting, try focusing on different birds throughout the entire setup. And then when you get to your computer, you can then still start to kind of look at those and decide which one was the strongest composition, which one did you end up liking the best? And out of some of these, this one was probably more of my favorite of the flying birds. Just because I have a kind of a clear subject. He's lined up here on my line and for the rule of thirds. Because remember when I do a lot of my composition, we've talked about this in lots of our classes that we, that I have. You know, I like to center my subject and get my focus and then shift slightly to the right or to left or up or down and get more of a rule of third kind of composition going. It's the easiest. You can center that bird and get it focused and then shift slightly to the right like I did here. And get that bird on that right line so that the subject is now in a more interesting position. Everything shot straight on in the center is not very interesting. Unless you very purposefully did that like you're breaking that rule on purpose, otherwise, stick to the rule. The rules are there for a reason. They've been around for thousands of years. We know that something off-center is more interesting than something centered 99% of time. So I want you to always kinda be thinking off-center for your subject. And if you could line it up on one of the cross hatches, kind of off-center and a little bit above or off-center and a little bit below. Those are like ideal spots. But in the case of this, at the minimum on thinking, shift slightly to the left, shift slightly to the right. And now you're, I kinda starts here and it has room to kind of move around the photo to the different elements. And you can travel around and a little circle there coming back to your main subject. So did like this composition, the best out of those that I had, flying birds. And then I came back and I was taking a few of just the birds on the books. And you can, again, you can kinda tell that I decided this bird was my subject. And then I shifted slightly to the left or right to get here on the rule of thirds for my subject. And while the subject is bigger than the line, and kinda takes up a whole third of the photo in itself. It's still slightly to the left or right. It's not dead center. It's so interesting that you're kind of looking, this has like a leading line. So it's leading you through the photo to kinda look around and then come back into the photo. So it's leading you on a circle around that way. So I do like things on the angle. The books aren't straight either. They're kind of on a diagonal this way. I like background elements to be on a diagonal rather than straight. Because look at this one, it doesn't look diagonal. It looks flat out crooked. So if I had had this kind of on the diagonal and I'll wardens shooting straight on to the books. It wouldn't look like my head was tilted when I shot the picture because that's what that does. That's Wow, that looks. And now I have to straighten that out so that those lines, those horizontal lines are actually straight so that you can see, oh, okay, they're supposed to be straight. They're not supposed to be crooked. So this really is just crooked. And if I take in that photo and I did take that photo further on, let's see, by taking the photo where it was on a diagonal on purpose, then that would have been good. Well, maybe I didn't do it. Maybe I didn't pull out the one or it was more of a diagonal because this one even looks like it's just crooked. And if at the, at the minimum, the back books and the horizon line there should be straight. And so now that looks like the back is straight and it's just a weird angle. You gotta be careful with the angles they need to look like they're angled enough that it was on purpose, not angled just a little bit so that it looked odd, like this actually looks like it was angled. This is kind of the books are angled this way and this angled going back. So it looks a lot more natural in that angle than it does straight on and just being crooked. Keep that in mind. That's a big deal. But I do like things shot on the angle or the angle is on purpose and it looks like it's on purpose. And it's, you know, you get this look more by shooting kinda more from the left, shooting into the scene rather than being straight onto the scene, shooting straight on. And then keep in mind two different orientations. I have some landscape orientation and a half, some portrait orientation. And in this, I know that it's not crooked because my core bowl is straight. So there is an element in the photo that's completely straight and looks exactly like it should be. So then I know the other elements are leaning and are doing their thing on purpose. So it's not like that was a mistake or I was leading my head wrong or whatever. So I like both of these quite a bit. And then I did like this one a bit better than the original, but I still might crop that even a little more so that that background set of books was a little straighter. The thing I hate about cropping is you lose all this pixels and all of this information. So now your, your photo that you have to print out is much smaller than the original photo coming out of camera. So I try, I'm a very, very hardest to take the best photo at a camera that I can get. I want the exposure correct. I want the lighting correct. I want my camera settings correct. I want to be at about an F4 usually when I'm shooting because I like the blur in the background. I want my ISO to be 400 or less because I don't want my photo to be super grainy when I'm shooting the photo. And then I want to compensate those other numbers with how fast that shutters going. And if I'm hand-holding that shutter needs to be going at least 160th of a second or faster. Or it's just going too slow to get a nice tack sharp subject. And so when I'm shooting, I'm thinking of all these things and I'm thinking of the composition. So I like the composition to be perfect coming out of camera. I don't want to have to crop it or fix it in Photoshop because you're cropping out valuable information and size when you're cropping that photo. I love this one. And then in stuff like this, if I look up and I think in that top-left corner that, that little bit of bird is distracting. I could always clone some of those elements out. And I want you to get all around on your subject and decide what's your favorite photo, rule of thirds best out of camera. And then when you added it, come back and show me one of your photos. I can't wait to see that. So let's just go ahead and edit this photo. I have already played with it, but what will an edit some of this. And then I'm just going to hit the auto button and readjust the exposure and then come down and start playing with the different elements. And just decide where do I want these and I'll come back and adjust them in a minute. I like having a starting point. Usually I'm playing and presets. And on this little series of classes, I've manually edited all of these just to show you how I would normally edit something. And then I'll save those presets when I love something that I've done. But a lot of times, you know, my editing is going to be real similar. There's things that I love, there's things that I want to do to that photo. And so I'm going to use similar elements just about every time. So I'm going to pick out a little sharpening point, and I'm going to mask that off holding down the Option Alt key so that just the white bits are sharpened. I don't want to sharpen every pixel that adds that extra grain that we don't want. And then we'll come down, add a little bit of a vignette. I do add the vignette to a lot of these still life photos that I do, but I don't add a vignette. A lot of Tom's to flower photos that I shoot. Just kinda gets into preference as you're editing as to what you'd love. And I'm just going to come back up and do one last tweak here on some of these. Maybe I don't really like saturation. Saturation turns everything really yellow, like that, super saturated right there. So I don't generally add that, but I do like the vibrance because it pumps up all the other colors, not the yellows and stuff. And then I'm just going to come back and do a final tweak here of these last elements. There we go. I love that. And once I get something like that, that are really loved and I'll usually save that as a preset. So we'll just call this one, create a preset. And I have a little folder over here called my favorites. And I'm just going to put that in my favorites. And if you take a look at the blue boxes, That's the things that I save. I don't save the exposure. And I don't save the white balance. I don't save the auto settings or any of the lens correction profiles because I want those things to be individual to the photo that I'm starting with. I don't want to reset the exposure after I've set the exposure, I want the preset just to tack on top of that setting. And this is what makes these the most versatile for me to be able to use. And then I hit Create. And then you'll see here I've created several of these here in this little series of classes. And what I love about it is now I can go back and I can use these and I can see how each preset looks on the photo. And let's say I really loved this number two. Now I could put that number 2 on any photo and you can see it's not a readjusting the exposure. So I love that. I can instantly see what that preset looks like all my photo. And these are my like my signature presets. We'll call them because they're things that I've edited and loved and now I can have a starting place with other photos. I'm using that same table by the window, whatever the setup happens to be. Now I can come back to a set of presets that I know are going to look great. And then I just had to pick the one I want. Tweak it for that photo that I've put it on. And it's so much faster editing everything from scratch. Just a fun little tip there. I love using presets and I love creating them off of different edits that I've really liked. All right, so I hope you have fun with this said I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos that I've gotten out of it and talking about the composition and the things that you might look for when you're shooting a fun paper birds setup. And I'll see you back in class. 8. Final Thoughts: All right, So what do you think? After watching this class? Are you now inspired to gather a few props and create some paper birds out an old book pages, and create a still life setup that's a little bit whimsical and out of the ordinary. And one that you're not going to see a lot of. And just see what is it that you can create with your tiny still-life studio. So I hope you enjoyed the little bit of whimsy and here and maybe going forward thing, how can I make my sets a little more whimsical sometimes and just see what you can come up with. So I'm really glad to have had you in class. Hope you enjoy the assignment in this class and come back and be sure to share at least one photo with us. And I'll see you next time.