Still Life with Natural Light | Carolyn Watson | Skillshare

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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

7 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Still Life With Natural Light Introduction

    • 2. Selecting Locations

    • 3. Styling Dried Roses

    • 4. Image Selections

    • 5. Dried Roses Edit

    • 6. Creating A Preset

    • 7. Final Project

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About This Class


Join photographer, Carolyn V of Sixteen Miles Out to learn her approach to creating beautiful still life images. Whether you're capturing images for your blog or Instagram, or are wanting to create beautiful art, you'll learn techniques that are easy to follow.

In this class, you'll learn how to take pieces from your home, whether they be ones you use daily or special treasures and turn them into beautiful and modern still life images. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Carolyn Watson

Still Life Photographer & Teacher


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1. Still Life With Natural Light Introduction: Hi, I'm Carolyn. And in this class, we're going to be learning about still life photography. Capturing still life with natural light provides me with my most favorite images. There's just something about the way the light hits that gives me a cozy, comforting feel. My photography journey began about 10 years ago. I started with landscapes in nature, then moved into Portrait's Still Life came along about four years ago during a period when I needed to spend more time at home. It was a 365 day project that got me started. The props were challenging and some more fun today than others. In doing this project, I found that there was so much more to photography than I had ever realized. And so with that, I began the process of creating still life images. Capturing Beauty found three treasures within my home flowers and greenery from my yard, cups of tea and various craft items. As I started these pieces, they became beautiful little setups that are now art pieces for my home and as companion images, two articles in a beautiful women's magazine. This wonderful and peaceful hobby has turned into a paying job. Who would have ever thought that becoming a published photographer would come with my still life images? These are possibilities for you to 2. Selecting Locations: next. I wanted to talk to you about selecting locations. The location is really a critical part of still life photography. You're gonna want to pick a room that lets in a lot of light. So something with the nice large window. I suggest that you take a couple of notes of rooms in your house that let in the nicest light at various times of the day. You probably already have a pretty good idea of that. But maybe you might want to take a 24 hour period or 12 hour period. Um, and just kind of take a look and see what's happening. Say it's six in the morning, verses 10 o'clock versus four. Just so you kind of have an idea when are gonna be the best times of the day for you to shoot? 3. Styling Dried Roses: I'm gonna do a sample set up or just set up a still life for you. What I have here is, um, my backdrop, This is These are three tiles ceramic tiles from Home Depot. They make a really great backdrop. They're inexpensive, and the store easily on that. I set out some props here and gonna see what we can come up with. So I always like to have something soft and, um, not like soft, but something that kind of give motion to what's in the image. I use the the twine or something like that also to give motion and that I always have some sort of flour or not always, but often I'm using some dried flowers today and then just a couple of other pieces, so we'll see what we come up with With this kind of a set up. I like to find one piece that's going to basically be the like, the larger piece in the image on. Probably just I like to drop this kind of casual in not really place it, but just kind of put it about where I want it on them. Work within a little bit. Just, uh, adds a movement. Like I said. And then let's see, I'll put in the flowers. I love dried flowers. I just love flowers in general. And then the dried flowers are fun to get because you could just use them over and over again, full try like that and then made a couple over here. See how that goes. Um, and I like the twine just kind of hell. It unfolds and you just never know how it's gonna go something different all the time. Oops. And then let's see. Try this right there. For now. See what that looks like? I actually kind of like that, and then I want to put my scissors in some place, so level we'll try them here because this is an empty spot, and that looks like it might be nice right there. Um, they could also go over kind of in this area. In fact, it might adjust this a little bit. Bring these flowers back, bring this up, leave a little bit more room for the scissors to go there. Let's see. Yeah, I think I kind of like that, actually. So I'm gonna go ahead and take a couple of shots of this, and I will show you those as well 4. Image Selections: next lesson. I just want to go through the image choices from our little photography session. Uh, I have done several different angles, and we'll just kind of look at those and talk about him a little bit as we go through. This one's kind of, um, a little bit higher doesn't show as much nice depth of field as I would like. An A depth of field is just the blur in the background. And yes, there is blur. But this isn't necessarily my favorite angle doesn't mean it won't be your favorite angle. I do like the scissors up closer, though, and then this next one is a top down view or a flat lay. I enjoy flat lace there, a little bit more challenging to do for me. It might be something that you're really good at her that you end up being real good at. They're kind of fun. It's a little bit more modern, and they show just a totally different angle than what you would expect. This one here shows a little bit more depth of field, a little bit lower than the 1st 1 that I showed you, and I do like this angle better. I like the nice depth of field in the background. This one's virtually the same as this last one. Just a little bit more of the top of this piece showing. This is probably my favorite angle here, a lot of depth of field in the background. This one will obviously have to be corrupt to cut this part off up here. But this is a really nice angle. It shows nice focus on the Rose, and then everything else is just kind of blurred, which tends to be my favorite. This last one already edited this one. You can tell this is basically the same angle as the last one. It's just in a landscape view, so sometimes you have native landscape rather than portrait images. So this is just another nice choice. Maybe through looking at some of these, you'll come up with some ideas That would be an angle that you'd like to shoot from, and you can go anywhere in between any of these looking forward to seeing what you come up with. 5. Dried Roses Edit: elections, we're gonna go ahead and do an edit. Since I've been editing images for a while, I've come up with a lot of different, um, edits, styles of editing that I like for my different photos. And what I've done is I've created presets and got them over here on the left hand side. Um, we're not gonna do a preset today because that will defeat the purpose of showing you how to do it at it. But I will show you how to create your own presets in another video. But for now, what we're gonna do is we're just going to go through and make some changes to this image right here. The very first thing that I like to do when I look at an image is I come over to lens correction and you just click the little arrow here in light room and it drops down or opens up the options for this. And if I click this enable profile correction, it's gonna open up the window just a little bit. It brightens it up for you. You can see a little more detail on it. I go up here into basic and I make some changes here, up all depending on the image and how bright it is or the kind of look I'm going for. That's gonna be what makes a difference on the changes that I make here. I usually like to bump the exposure of just a little bit. Not much of a change. Um, change of a contrast is often something I like to do. It gives the image kind of a hazy sort of a look. You see, it's dropped that hes down. I'm here it minus 74. But let's take it back up so you can see what it looks like before that if you just double click right in the center than it brings it right back to zero. Okay, so we're gonna drop that right back down to about minus 74 or so and see, it just totally changes and makes it hazier and softer. I like to change the white, so I'm gonna go and do that. What this does is it just brightens up the whites. You see that? I'm doing it pretty drastically there. We're not gonna do that. Just gonna bump it up just a little tiny bit. Just to kind of add to it, and I like to add a little bit of clarity back to it. What you can do to if you want to add even more clarity. There's a couple of tools up here you can tap on this one, and you could just create a shape similar to the shape that you're wanting to add it. And then over here on the right hand side again, you can see this will drop down. I go down to clarity, then the clarity has already adjusted up a little bit. I can bump it up a little higher if I want. It just sharpens that up just a little bit. Another tool that I could use to do that with is the brush tool, which gives you a little bit more flexibility. Right now it's on exposure, but I again can change that onto clarity. This one is up 12. So if I wanted and you could change the size of the brush, But I can go in and I can just add a little bit more sharpening to this. And then if I wanted Teoh, I can click new here on the right hand column and I can do exposure. Let's say I want to bump up the exposure on that Rose. Also, let's put this over on the positive side. Positive. 14. So we'll just I'm just brushing right over the top of that Rose and let me just do it a little bit exaggerated so you can see what I did. Just take a look at the rose he helped brightens up. It's actually not a bad luck, but that's just a bit much, so I'm just gonna take it back down again, okay? And then one other thing that I like to do is I like to adjust the noise reduction just a little bit. Just bumped that up a little bit, okay? And I think I like, um Oh, let's see. Let me close that up again and actually let me get off the brush. That's what I should have done first. So we're gonna go back to the noise reduction, Just bring it up a little bit more, and then that just softens the image there. And then this is the crop tool. So we're gonna go ahead and crop this image. You can change the dimensions here. This is the original. I often like to cross mine to eight by 10 but that is really dependent on what it is that I'm doing the image for. But we'll go ahead and put this on a day by 10 and then I think I like it. And then I would go ahead and right click. Once I'm done with the edit, right click in the middle of the imagers anywhere, anywhere in the image, just right. Click. Go down to export, and then you can export, um, appear at the top, and it will give you all sorts of options on how to export your image and look over that in another video. 6. Creating A Preset: Now I'm gonna show you how to create your own preset. So we've just edited an image, and what you want to do is keep your raw file or your file that you just edited. Maybe it's not a raw file. Maybe it's a J. Peck. Keep that open in the window where you have all of your adjustments that you made right here, over in the right hand column of the develop module. So you've got all of your settings there, you've edited your image, and then what you're gonna dio is you're going to go up to the top menu and you can't quite see it here. But it's a little bit great out that you're gonna click on, develop up in the upper menu, says Light Room Classic. And then it says file at it and then develop. You're gonna click on develop, and then a drop down one was gonna open up and you're gonna click on new preset. It was new preset right there. And then when you do that, this window right here is gonna open up, and the only things you're gonna need to change in this window are the preset name you can name it whatever you feel like naming it. And then you can either create a new group. Or maybe you have a group already. Um, but you can create a new group again. You can name it, whatever you want, and then that's gonna be where your presets gonna go. Um, these check marked sections right here are what, uh they signify the changes that you have made on your image already. And so then you're gonna go ahead and just leave all of those checked. No need to change any of these other things or check Marco's because you didn't do those in that image, and then you're gonna click create. And the wonderful thing about creating presets is that you can use them over and over again on your images. With just one click, you find your presets over in the left hand column in light room. Um, so if you take an image with similar lighting, you can just go into the preset section, select the preset that you'd like to use, and then your image is just changed. Um, sometimes you have to make slight adjustments because maybe the lighting's not quite the same or something is just a little bit off. But it's super quick and super easy, and I love creating my own process. It makes my life a whole lot easier. I'll go ahead and show these videos next. I'm sorry. I'm gonna go in the show. These two images next in full size so that you can see them up close. 7. Final Project: for our final project and just a overview of what we're doing in this glass. I want you to set up in still life seen in your favorite location and then Teoh approximately 10 to 20 images of that scene. Different angles. You take that money images just because some of them may not turn out clear or you just want a lot of choices and then upload those images to your computer and make some edits. And then from those edits, create a preset. And then once you've edited your images, upload 2 to 3 of your best images here in the project section. Well, thank you so much for taking my plus. I look forward to seeing what you've done.